(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Media are invited to get a glimpse into training at Miami International Airport (MIA) that will help employees identify individuals who may be involved in human trafficking. On Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 10 a.m., a special training session will be held at the Miami International Airport Hotel, where about 50 MIA employees will learn key elements to watch for among the tens of thousands of passengers who pass through the airport every day.
Last spring, Kristi House proposed an initiative to assist them in identifying child victims of sex human trafficking who were being trafficked through our airports unchecked. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, through his advocacy for better laws to protect sex trafficking victims, immediately recognized victims are taken across state lines or international borders through places like MIA and PortMiami. In a resolution passed by his colleagues last fall, Commissioner Diaz asked County Administration to devise a plan to train personnel at both MIA and PortMiami to identify and respond to children in transit who are being sexually exploited. Representatives from MIA, PortMiami, and Miami-Dade Police Department will be on hand for this training session. MIA is one of the first U.S. airports to launch this training.
According to Diaz’s legislation, about 293,000 youths in the United States are currently at risk of being victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Many of these children are runaways who leave abusive and neglectful homes and become involved in prostitution for financial support or by force. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified South Florida as one of 13 major trafficking hubs in the country.
The training will be administered by representatives of local non-profit Kristi House, which specializes in coordinated services for children who are victims of sexual abuse. Media should note that they will only be able to view half of the training session, as the latter portion includes security-sensitive information that would lessen its effectiveness if released publicly. A press conference will be held after viewing the training to answer additional questions.
For more information, please contact Olga Vega with Commissioner Diaz’s office at 786-258-1635.