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New Report States Florida's Human Trafficking Assessment Tool May Not Be That Effective

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Credit MGN Online
The Florida Channel

A new report states a human trafficking tool used among some state agencies may not be that effective.

State agency officials say they’re aware that it’s hard to arrive at reliable data to track Florida’s human trafficking victims. But, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll says an assessment tool developed by DCF and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has helped.

“If you look at the numbers previous to that tool being implemented, I would tell you that the numbers are inconsistent at best,” said Carroll, during a Statewide Council on Human Trafficking meeting months ago.

The goal of the Human Trafficking Assessment tool—which has been in place for more than a year—is to assess factors like how many instances involve running away, sexual abuse history, or prostitution.

But, a recent OPPAGA [Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability] report states there are concerns over the tool’s effectiveness. DCF’s Child Protective Investigators have complained the screening questions are too broad, redundant, and time consuming. In fact, some admitted they don’t even use it for fear of intimidating victims. But, while DJJ staff members have said the tool is lengthy, the report does say they did not have any issues using it.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner .

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