IMMOKALEE, Fla. - "A Day Without Slavery" is a goal that's hard to achieve for far too many people in Southwest Florida. It's also the name of an annual outreach event to combat the epidemic.
"It's out there, it's in communities all over the Untied States," said Elizabeth Donovan, a Law Professor at Ave Maria School of Law and one of the creators of the event.
"A Day Without Slavery" is a partnership between the Collier County Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Sheriff's Office. The goal is to entertain kids and educate parents about the very real crimes happening in their community. It was held Saturday afternoon at the Immokalee Community Park.
"In Immokalee, you have people who are vulnerable. And unfortunately when you have vunerable people, often they become victims," Donovan said.
Building trust with Law Enforcement is crucial aspect toward fighting human slavery. But also a difficult one.
"In the countries they came from, Law Enforcement quite often was part of the problem, not part of the solution," said Chief James Williams with CCSO.
"They need to learn that this is a different country. If you come to a Deputy in the Collier County Sheriff's Office and say that you're here against your will, you're gonna get the service that you need."
Donovan says the Southwest Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking is talking about starting a similar annual program in Lee County to spread awareness.