HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsborough County Public Schools unveiled a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) directed to middle and high school students, as another approach to aid the fight against human trafficking.
In the two-and-a-half-minute video, Sheriff Chad Chronister, Superintendent Addison Davis, along with student actors, highlight the warning signs and steps students must be aware of to protect themselves, and their peers, from becoming a victim.
In 2019, six people were arrested and charged for human trafficking in Hillsborough County. In 2020, a total of eight arrests were made. Ahead of Super Bowl LV, HCSO is preparing for an influx of human traffickers. As with any large event, the demand for commercial sex increases drastically, opening the doors for sexual exploitation.
In response, undercover operations are in full swing. Deputies are monitoring online chat rooms, massage parlors, hotels, and motels, known for illicit activity.
“One of our largest areas of focus is prevention through education, which is why our partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools is so important,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Students and parents, please take this opportunity to understand that human trafficking is a real issue that affects our community.”
The PSA covers the signs and symptoms a possible human trafficking victim may display, where to go for help, and the importance of speaking up if a student observes questionable behavior from a classmate.
“It is truly critical that we take these steps together to protect our children from human trafficking,” said Superintendent Addison Davis. “We have the responsibility as a school district, and a community, to protect our most vulnerable population.”
“Human trafficking is a harsh reality we face here in our community,” said School Board Chair Lynn Gray. “Hillsborough County Public Schools stands ready to prevent this horrible crime, and save lives.”
The new PSA will be sent out to all Hillsborough Public Schools’ middle and high school students, and will be published on all of HCSO’s social media platforms.