Florida ranked as one of the worst states for human trafficking

Shelby Senesac, News Editor

Florida can’t seem to keep its name off of any lists that involve ‘the worst’ out of a ranking of states or areas. Florida was once again recognized as one of ‘the worst’ at something. However, this ranking is much darker and more unsettling than many of the others – Floridians are living in the third-largest hub for human trafficking in the U.S.

Human Trafficking Hotline’s most recent reporting of human trafficking cases per state, in 2019, revealed Florida followed behind California and Texas for the states with the highest number of reported cases. Human Trafficking Hotline has not released 2020’s numbers yet. 

There was a total of 896 human trafficking cases reported in 2019, which is an increase from 2018 when Florida had 760 human trafficking reports. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels

Florida is a popular hunting ground for human trafficking because of Florida’s thriving agriculture and tourism industries, which are two industries where trafficking can flourish, according to WFLA News Channel 8.

News4Jax has been keeping a close eye on human trafficking cases in Florida, especially in Jacksonville. The pandemic hasn’t stopped or even minimized human trafficking from occurring. 

Last year, an article on News4Jax disclosed the unnerving truth about human trafficking in Jacksonville during the pandemic. Ken Jefferson, News4Jax crime and safety expert, explained that it seems as though sex traffickers are becoming more desperate to make money during the pandemic.

Police work day in and day out to catch sex traffickers and save victims. Recently, in Nov. 2020, nearly 200 people were arrested in a Florida human trafficking investigation on criminal charges which ranged from solicitation of prostitution to human trafficking of a minor.

 Last week, on Feb. 16, News4Jax reported that their I-TEAM (investigation team) found eight recent human trafficking arrests in Duval County – victims being both male and female and ranging in age from toddlers to adults.

Human trafficking is taking place right under our noses. People are using social media now more than ever, which is where many predators go to seek out potential victims and gain their trust. Perpetrators hide in plain sight and tend to blend in with the rest of society.

Three pillars that define human trafficking are Force, Fraud, and Coercion, as reported by News4Jax.

Here are the red flags:

Force – If anyone does something to make you uncomfortable, you have a right to protect yourself.

Fraud – Always be cautious of everyone. Be aware of signs such as having a job no one can visit, frequently leaving town, or multiple phones.

Coercion – If someone is pushing your boundaries, remember trafficking is gradual and happens little by little. 


It’s important to be aware that anyone, anywhere, anytime, can fall victim to sex trafficking.

To learn more, visit National Human Trafficking Hotline.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].