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Published On: Mon, Jan 22nd, 2018

Florida Sheriff Grady Judd to church: ‘reality is there is human trafficking in Polk County’

Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd brought a serious message about human trafficking Sunday to the First United Methodist Church in Auburndale, calling for more active participation in the battle against this modern sex slave industry.

“Christians picketed and declared they (sex businesses) were morally corrupt while most other people stood by,” Judd said in his speech. “Who better to be the voice of Polk County against human trafficking than Christian churches and the Christian community?”

Photo/Sawso.org

The Ledger chronicled the powerful message, noting over 200 were in attendance.

“When we think of human trafficking, we think of some other world, some other land, maybe in Florida but not Polk County,” Judd warned. “The reality is there is human trafficking in Polk County.”

Sheriff Judd pointed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which sponsors the “Blue Campaign” to end the practice and their broad definition.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,” according to the website, www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.

“Human trafficking is one of the world’s fastest growing enterprises,” Judd said. “It is a $150 billion per year business.”

He then pointed how the apathy of the community and even law enforcement: “There are some law enforcement agencies who take the attitude, ‘If a crime doesn’t make noise, they don’t investigate it,’” Judd said.

Many people, businesses and civic groups ignore the reality of trafficking at the community’s expense, said the sheriff.

Human trafficking cases are especially hard to investigate and prosecute because the victims often won’t cooperate with law enforcement.

“They fear their human trafficker or pimp more than law enforcement of jail,” Judd said. “They don’t know they’re being victimized.”

The sheriff asked for more community cooperation in reporting possible victims of human trafficking.

“You can see a lot if you look around. Look for signs that don’t seem right,” Judd said. “If you’re right, we’ll rescue someone. If you’re wrong, no harm, no foul.”

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