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02-07-10, 02:31 PM #1
Volunteers try to persuade underage girls to leave sex work during Super Bowl weekendIn an effort to reach those girls, state and local law enforcement agencies are teaming up with social service agencies to coordinate nighttime outreaches to girls on the streets.
Starting Wednesday, small teams of three or four volunteers have set out each night scoping the streets for potential trafficking victims, covering ground from Fort Lauderdale to South Beach to Hialeah. The hard part isn't locating the girls but finding an opportunity to approach them without drawing the attention of their pimps, said volunteer Eddy Ameen.
"Safety's always an issue because we know the girls aren't alone. We have to make sure we're not presenting potential harm to them," said Ameen, executive director of StandUp For Kids Miami.
If they get a girl's attention, they hand her a card with a hot line number for resources on how to get out of "the life," Ameen said.
"It's usually a very brief encounter -- just a few minutes, if that. Some may not call the next day or the day after or ever. We can give out card 100 times and maybe five will call. But if they do, we've made a difference," he added.
Another component of the operation aims to educate hotels and the hospitality industry on how to spot sex-trafficking operations on their premises and report it -- an approach that yielded the majority of leads at last year's Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida, according to Dennis.
"Last year we put together 21 leads that we gave to law enforcement, most of them from business owners or hotel owners basically stating I believe I have a trafficker and his girls stay at my hotel," he said.
"They'd see a lot of traffic coming and going, or girls standing out on corners.," Dennis added. "Those are all obvious signs, but good on them for actually reporting it.
02-07-10, 03:18 PM #2
Good luck with that.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
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