Officials concerned about human trafficking in Central Florida

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The major fight to end human trafficking in Central Florida is getting a lot of attention this week.

Local, state, and federal leaders have been meeting across Florida to share information about how to battle the problem, but law enforcement agencies said they need help.

One of their biggest pushes is awareness, and there's going to be a human trafficking awareness event at Lake Eola on Saturday.

Law enforcement officials said they need people in the community let them know when they see something suspicious.

With theme parks and warm weather, it is not any secret that Central Florida attracts tourists from all over the world.

However, more and more, we are hearing how tourism and the transient nature of our community attracts human traffickers.

"It's gone under the radar for many, many years," said Phil Archer, state attorney.

Archer joined lawmakers, law enforcement officers and other experts for a human trafficking symposium in Brevard County.

Experts said human trafficking is the fastest growing and, behind illegal drugs, the second most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world.

Many of the victims are children.           

"If you are prostituting a juvenile, that's a commodity you are using over and over again," said Officer Chris Jones with the Palm Bay Police Department.

It has become such a big problem that federal agencies are now joining forces with private companies to combat the problem.

For example, they are training flight crews to learn how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

"They started out with airline people, they've expanded it to truckers, taxi drivers," said Florida Rep. Bill Posey, a Republican.

Experts said children who do not seem to really know who they are travelling with might be a sign.

Another sign might be large a large number of people living together under one roof.

In Central Florida, the biggest issue is forced prostitution.

But the area has also seen forced labor cases, where police said children were carried by bus in horrible conditions and dumped in neighborhoods far from home to sell things door to door.

A big part of the focus is on helping the victims.