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Protecting the vulnerable from exploitation after Hurricane Ian | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Monday’s letters to the editor.
A damaged property is seen near a broken section of Pine Island Road in Matlacha. There are countless Floridians who have lost everything due to Hurricane Ian, but some are more at-risk for human trafficking and exploitation.
A damaged property is seen near a broken section of Pine Island Road in Matlacha. There are countless Floridians who have lost everything due to Hurricane Ian, but some are more at-risk for human trafficking and exploitation. [ MATIAS J. OCNER | Miami Herald ]
Published Oct. 3

Protecting the vulnerable

Florida recovers as Hurricane Ian targets Carolinas | Sept. 30

Imagine fleeing your home because of a hurricane. Imagine that home is destroyed and not knowing how you will rebuild or find another place to live. There are countless Floridians who have lost everything due to Hurricane Ian, but some are more at-risk for human trafficking and exploitation.

People may be more vulnerable because they have been displaced from their homes (temporarily living in a shelter), separated from family and friends or unable to safely earn income and be self-sufficient. People who don’t speak a local language may also be more at-risk because they can’t communicate to law enforcement, are scared of physical harm, and have no access to assistance and services.

Traffickers will take advantage of these vulnerabilities and may lure individuals with promises of employment, housing, relocation or simply food and clean water. Desperation often clouds good judgment where the victim believes the promises of the trafficker.

With businesses shut down, jobs are interrupted. Such destruction and loss introduce heightened levels of despair, hopelessness and frustration. Traffickers seek out victims who are in these emotional states. Oftentimes there is little attention left to identify and prevent trafficking because law enforcement and government resources are diverted to providing emergency support.

We encourage everyone to learn the potential signs and indicators of human trafficking in order to protect their community and prevent future exploitation.

Erin Collins, Tallahassee

Erin Collins is the executive director of the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking. To learn more about the Florida Alliance’s awareness training, visit www.FloridaAllianceEndHT.com

How do horses shelter?

Florida recovers as Hurricane Ian targets Carolinas | Sept. 30

The question needs to be asked: What is the status of the larger animals, like horses, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian?

Tony Boccio, New Port Richey

The bigger picture

Where the blame belongs | Letter, Sept. 30

To blame illegal immigration as a source of crime in this country is similar to blaming the medical profession as a source of deaths due to medical malpractice or all drivers for car accident-related deaths.

Jesus Penabad, Tarpon Springs

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