JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville ranks third in the state when it comes to reports of human trafficking. On Monday, city leaders met to figure out how to fight back.
On the heels of last month's HRO expansion and with a new woman in the State Attorney's Office, council members, the sheriff and other city leaders met to figure out how to stop human trafficking and how to help victims like Alyssa Beck.
"There is hope. There is a way out of the sex trade," said Beck. She talked with First Coast News about she was held as a sex slave in Jacksonville. "It happens at the Town Center. It happens on Bay Meadows. It happens on Philip's Highway."
Council member John Crescimbeni is chairing a victim's services committee set up to create new housing with care for human trafficking victims.
Members of those groups also came to voice their suggestions.
"People are exporting people for profit and if we don't address the demand side, then we'll never end this because people will always keep doing it," said Kristin Keen, founder of Rethreaded.
For Keen and Rethreaded, they seek to give female trafficking victims jobs and they want to stop the problem at its source.
"People make money off this industry and traffickers are trafficking people because they can make money, so who is buying and how do we lower the demand so people aren't profiting from it," said Keen.
Jamie Rosseland is a survivor of sex trafficking. She says Sheriff Mike Williams is giving her hope.
"What's been really hopeful and positive is watching Sheriff Mike Williams start looking at this issue in a different light," she says. "He's looking at these women as maybe victims instead of criminals."
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