New state council aims to stop human trafficking

It's a crime many people don't see. That's why the state has created a council on human trafficking. Florida has the third highest number of cases in the country.

Last year, detectives busted a house in Stuart for sex trafficking. The Martin County Sheriff's Office says a month long investigation revealed a man was selling women for sex. 

We spoke with a victim in another case of sex trafficking. She described it as "hell".

"It's not a choice at all," says the woman who asked us not to reveal her identity, "You have all control taken away from you and your life is basically no longer your own."

Sheriff William Snyder says victims live in fear.

"The biggest problem with the human trafficking is our victims of the trafficking often times are afraid to cooperate," says Sheriff Snyder.

That's why the Martin County Sheriff and 14 other people are members of a new state council on human trafficking.

"It exists in probably every county in the state of Florida," says Sheriff Snyder.

The sheriff says it can happen anywhere in any neighborhood. Police see victims of all ages.

"In the sex trade we can see very young," says Sheriff Snyder, "As you go out into the stoop labor where people are out in the fields picking you may see older victims."

The state council will develop recommendations for programs, safe houses, and review laws. Another goal is education.

"We want decent law-abiding people in different industries to know how despicable this is and you can't turn the other cheek," says Sheriff Snyder.

There's a group based in Stuart called Redeem the Shadows.  Its goal is to prevent human trafficking and help victims. They're holding a 5K run to raise money on Saturday, September 6 in Jensen Beach.