Sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children has been reported in every one of Florida’s 67 counties. Florida ranks third across the United States for prevalence in reported human trafficking cases. Anyone can be a victim regardless of geography, age, gender, race and other identities. Despite the long-term existence and widespread prevalence of this illegal industry, little is actually known about human trafficking, and occurrences are notoriously underreported.
To educate communities and bring public awareness to this heinous crime, renowned photographers The Workmans partnered with Voices for Florida and the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking to bring The End It Movement to Florida.
The End It Movement is a collective of everyday individuals and community leaders united by the mission to end human trafficking with the ideology that action starts with awareness. This movement encourages advocates to draw a red X on their hand as a conversation starter to bring attention to human trafficking.
The Workmans led the charge by establishing photography studios in Tallahassee and Tampa to take portraits of participants with a red X on their hand in preparation for a big reveal flooding social media on February 25th. Voices for Florida and the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking worked together to circulate this opportunity, and provide participants with information on human trafficking and ways everyone can help.
We have been joined in our efforts by over 200 local citizens, statewide and community leaders, such as Attorney General Ashley Moody, Representative Cord Byrd and Leon County Sheriff Walter McNeil. After learning about this movement, Tallahassee Mayor John E. Daily issued a proclamation to declare February 25th as Shine a Light on Slavery Day.
“We are so encouraged and grateful to partner in this advocacy effort with The Workmans and the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with these partners to raise awareness across our state,” said Robyn Metcalf, Statewide Director of the Open Doors Outreach Network.
About the Author
Bri Ratkiewicz, Nonprofit Management Apprentice
Bri graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice in May 2019. During her undergrad, she focused her interests surrounding women’s issues and criminal justice reform, which eventually led her to pursue her Master of Social Work. She will be graduating with her MSW in Spring 2021 from Florida State University. During her graduate education, she has concentrated her studies and passions to include a greater scope of social justice issues, specifically racial inequality, reproductive rights and criminal justice reform. Upon graduation, she plans to enter the field of political social work through which she hopes to bring about sustainable, progressive change through legislative advocacy and social policy efforts