Letters to the Editor

Partners in stopping human trafficking

The Aug. 18 article Council aims to fight human trafficking describes how Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will lead the new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in tackling the issue prevalent in Florida. The new Council goes hand-in-hand with the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services’ efforts to get critical services closer to human trafficking victims.

The Florida Network is a nonprofit statewide association representing 31 agencies, including shelters and neighborhood-based partners that have served youth who are exploited and trafficked. Through our relationship with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, we hope to aid the Council in raising awareness and providing resources for youth at risk of exploitation and those experiencing victimization.

One of our main goals is to protect all youth within the shelters and ensure they stay safe once they leave our care. We work hard to make staying at our shelters worth the risk. It is a hard decision to stay when the pull of addiction and fear of the unknown compel a teen to return to harm’s way.

We commend the attorney general, the Legislature and Council members for their leadership and look forward to seeing its efforts to help current human-trafficking victims and preventing future victims.

Stacy Gromatski, president and CEO, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, Tallahassee