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"MIA staff being trained to intercept child sex trafficking"
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Airport employees being trained to intercept sex trafficking
By Monique O. Madan
The Miami (FL) Herald
Employees at Miami International Airport were trained Thursday to identify
and respond to children who are being sexually exploited.
Fifty workers attended a sex-trafficking training session given by
Miami-Dade police and personnel from PortMiami and MIA. The workshop is
aimed at keeping watch on the tens of thousands of daily passengers who walk
through the airport.
South Florida is one of the 13 major trafficking hubs in the country,
according to the FBI.
Most recently, on Feb. 17, two men - former Miami Beach Police officer
Lavont Flanders Jr., 41, of Miami Gardens, and Emerson Callum, 45, of Miami
- were sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking after they lured
unsuspecting women to South Florida, slipped them drugs, taped them
performing sex acts and sold the images to pornographers.
Last spring, advocates with Kristi House - a nonprofit that helps sexually
abused victims - said they wanted to prevent child victims from being
trafficked through unprepared South Florida airports.
MIA is one of the first U.S. airports to launch this type of training,
according to Kristi House.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, led the sex-trafficking
crackdown after he said he realized victims are taken across state lines or
international borders through places like Miami International Airport and
About 293,000 young people in the United States are at risk of commercial
sexual exploitation, according to Diaz's legislation.
Experts describe these children as runaways who leave abusive and neglectful
homes, becoming involved in prostitution for financial support or by force.
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