In January 2020, the Department of Justice awarded a $741,556 grant to the St. Petersburg Police Department for three years to create a regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Taskforce. The Taskforce is a collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, working with organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking.
Currently there are 23 member agencies in the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force:
- United States Attorney 's Office for the Middle District of Florida ("USAO")
- Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI")
- United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI")
- Florida Office of the Attorney General - Statewide Prosecutor 's Office ("Statewide Prosecutor ")
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement ("FDLE ")
- Sheriffs' Offices of Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and Polk County
- Police Departments of Bradenton, Clearwater, Dade City, Haines City, Largo, Palmetto, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Temple Terrace, Tampa, Wauchula, and Zephyrhills.
The Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force focuses on three areas.
- Education: provide education and training to law enforcement as well as the public to build awareness.
- Rescue: coordinate with support programs and resources to help victims.
- Enforcement: implement technology that makes it easier to collect and share data across jurisdictions. Provide law enforcement support and assist with investigation and prosecution.
What Is Human Trafficking?
“Human trafficking” is defined as transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, enticing, maintaining, or obtaining another person for the purpose of exploiting that person for either commercial sex activity or labor or services.