FIU’s Human Rights Law Association Panel Raises Awareness on The Crisis

human traffickingYasmin Hasan, FIU Student and founder of Human Rights Law Association introducing the speakers | Karyne Martins Araujo, PantherNOW

Karyne Martins Araujo | Contributing Writer

Human Rights Law Association and the Community Police Relations Foundation hosted at a Human Trafficking Crisis Panel to educate students on the prevalence of human trafficking and child exploitation in the United States.

The event aimed not only to raise awareness on the topic but also to empower the community with actionable solutions.

“Anywhere in the United States you will find human trafficking or child exploitation, sex exploitation, and it is important to know that during big events such as SuperBowl, traffickers come with women to traffic women,” alerted the assistant state attorney Mrs. Brenda Mezick. 

Living with employers, physical abuse signs, and “branding” tattoos are indicators of human trafficking or sexual exploitation. If you or someone you know matches these characteristics, seek assistance by contacting Office of the State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

“The police are not looking for if you are or are not an illegal immigrant, we are just trying to realize if there is a crime and if someone is the victim that needs help,” Human Trafficking Task Force Detective Danny Estevez emphasized.

Detective Jessica Barriel, explaining social media’s role in human trafficking.| Karyne Martins Araujo, PantherNOW

Social media plays a significant role in trafficking, and caution with your privacy is essential when engaging with unfamiliar individuals online.

“Caution with luxurious lifestyle marketing those are some tactics used by traffickers to exploit a younger vulnerability,” said Organized Trafficking Squad Detective Jessica Barriel.

Gloria Martinez, founder of Tree of Life and Human Trafficking survivor, shared her experience with the students explaining that it took her a little longer to understand and accept that she was trafficked and sexually exploited from 12 to 17 years old.

“I was trafficked, I was about 12 years old. I met my trafficker outside of my middle school under the concept that we now call Romeo concept,” said Martinez.

The panel ended by opening for questions, allowing students to interact with the speakers. 

Law student asking question | Karyne Martins Araujo, PantherNOW

“If you see something, say something,” the officers highly encouraged.

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