With all of the huff and puff regarding the human trafficking going on amongst us, one would think, locally at least, that is a really big deal. After all, Orange County leads the state in the number of human trafficking cases that are referred to the Department of Children and Families, say Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
So, collective outrage would be the required reaction. Alarm and terror would follow.
But in the land of fabulous theme park prices, the group yawn is unmistakable. Who cares if little girls are being sold as sex slaves in the shadows of the Amway Center? Did you hear that New Kids On the Block are coming to Orlando?
You see, within our midst and in a subdivision near you, there are actually people who don’t give a damn about these types of horrors that are uniquely Orlando. For them, it’s a shrug and a wink. Long live the world-class city.
Politicians like Teresa Jacobs, Tiffany Moore-Russell and others, would jointly bite their tongues before mentioning the nasty side effects of the Orange County Convention Center and world-class attractions.
Disney World and Universal Studios are silent as well. Maybe they could cough up the cash for the newly minted Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force. Rumor has it that their pockets are fat. Where’s the corporate leadership on this issue?
But worse than these, are you and me. We accept these offenses locally, as if they are a part of our local ethos. We accept absentee ballot scandals. We accept low wages. We accept efforts by local officials to prevent sick time pay for low wage workers.
And now we will accept this latest update on one of our best kept secrets, the sex slave trade.
You don’t believe it? Local officials are reporting 125 cases of human trafficking in Metro Orlando over the last 18 months and the numbers are growing. In the first four months of this year, the number of confirmed victims is already more than half of human trafficking cases reported in 2012.
Officials say too, the number of victims is “significantly higher” than the number of cases that are reported.
Yet, the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force launched yesterday, has $0.00 direct funding, as an organization.
That’s right. Nothing. Zero. Zip.
After all, we need a new soccer stadium and this is still, according to Buddy Dyer, a world-class city.
Undoubtedly, organizations like Florida Abolitionist and The Lifeboat Project, members of the new Human Trafficking Task Force, already perform extraordinary service in fighting this crime against humanity, within their constrained budgets.
Little girls, being sold as sex slaves in the shadows of the Amway Center?
Surely, consideration should be given to a dedicated funding stream at the outset, with the view to ensuring early success of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force and to stamping out this growing scourge on the “world-class city.”