A virtual Human Trafficking Workshop, hosted by LSF Health Systems and the Gateway to Fr33dom Human Trafficking Task Force in Florida’s 3rd circuit, took place on Thursday, September 24th. The founders of Lake Mary-based Bikers Against Trafficking, Rainey and Doc, shared their personal experiences and provided information and statistics on human trafficking trends. Individuals who have been trafficked have experienced trauma that may include physical or emotional abuse and manipulation. Some are forced to use drugs and many live in fear of their traffickers. Symptoms of trauma may manifest long after a victim becomes free. That’s why being trauma-informed and providing trauma-informed care is essential to avoid re-traumatizing survivors of human trafficking. The Polaris Project estimates 25 million people are trafficked worldwide. In 2018, more than 1,700 trafficking victims were identified in Florida, ranking the state the 3rd highest in the nation. While it may be difficult to know the exact number of people trafficked, rates of trafficking are higher around interstates, tourism regions, rural areas, and farming communities – all which the Sunshine State has in abundance. Lesley Hersey, LSF Health Systems’ Community Engagement Specialist for circuits 3, 5 & 8, says the amazing and informative workshop placed human trafficking under the microscope. “Human Trafficking is modern day slavery, stealing people’s lives. At LSF Health Systems, we are helping people build healthier, happier, and hope-filled tomorrows by working to end trafficking.” More than 75 people attended the workshop which received numerous positive reviews. “I’m so thankful to get to work with this task force,” says Hersey. If you or someone you know needs assistance, the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888 or text “BeFree” to 233733.