|Published:||Oct 27, 2013 10:35 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 28, 2013 1:16 AM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A case of human trafficking in Southwest Florida is not an isolated case, according to local victim advocates.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office arrested 33-year old Seab Williams at the Travel Lodge on Indian Paint Lane in Fort Myers Friday.
Nola Theiss says Friday's human trafficking arrest at is a chilling reminder that the crime is happening and it's happening in broad daylight.
"It's something that could be happening in communities right before someone's eyes and communities don't have the ability to see it," Theiss said.
Theiss is the Executive Director for Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships.
She says Florida ranks third in the US for human trafficking cases and points towards border states that experience heavy traffic.
"Our two biggest industries in Florida, are agriculture which is one big source of labor trafficking but then the second is hospitality. What we need to do now is to continue educating businesses especially because there is opportunities to notice the signs of trafficking in their customers," she stated.
Lee County deputies found Saeb Williams Friday at the Travel Lodge Hotel. They say he forced a woman into prostitution, traveling from state to state.
"These crimes are sometimes difficult to spot because you see a man and women check into a hotel, that's a very common occurrence. People are traveling, it's a transient community," said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.
Linda Oberhaus with the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples says the arrest is a testament to local law enforcement.
"They're receiving more training on human trafficking, they're able to identify more cases and if they are able to identify it, they are able to make more referrals for these women to get help," she said.
Both women say community awareness is the key to finding more victims and putting their abusers behind bars.
Authorities are still looking into whether there are more victims. Williams will be back in court on November 25th.
If you see a possible human trafficking victim call 911 and the Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT) at 239-939-3112.
For more information contact Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships (HTAP) at 239-415-2635.
- Person of interest in Lehigh Acres killings not alone
- LCSO investigates North Ft. Myers homicide
- 3-year-old allegedly sets Cape Coral apartment fire
- Suspect cuts Punta Gorda horse's mane
- Retired NFL player becomes head coach for NFMHS football
- Victim's parents ask for public's help in finding suspect
- Lee-DOH reports 5 raccoon bites in less than 3 weeks
- Fla man jailed after losing $100 in card game
- Woman allegedly caught on camera taking wallet, using card
- Boy, 4, may have died of bacterial meningitis