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Billboards Aimed At Curbing Human Trafficking Go Up Ahead Of Miami Grand Prix

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced a major campaign ahead of the highly anticipated Miami Grand Prix.

Billboards with massive QR codes, that even a passenger in a moving vehicle would be able to scan, are popping up around the county.

CBS4 is already seeing the impact of one of the first billboards up, at US 1 and Southwest 27th Avenue.

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said since this billboard went up a few days ago, they've received more than 20 calls a day from people reporting human trafficking.

"There are always individuals who see sporting events, like the Miami Grand Prix, as an opportunity to make illegal money, by selling and exploiting the lives and bodies of our young people to the highest bidders," said Fernandez Rundle.

Last year, the Miami-Dade Police Department investigated 145 human trafficking cases and 96 of them involved kids, under the age of 18. The horrific crimes are happening every day but the number of cases spikes during major events.

"Many of our survivors who have been rescued have told us how increased tourism so often is connected to these kinds of events," said Fernandez Rundle.

She said they're going to be training workers and management in the key industries that human traffickers constantly pass through, like airports and seaports. Employees will learn what signs to look for and how to help.

"We can't do it alone. We need everyone's help. We need the eyes and ears of this community. We need the assistance," said Fernandez Rundle.

The director of the Miami Dade Police Department sent this message to human traffickers:

"We witness you. We see you. We will investigate you. We will stop at no point from ensuring that we are providing the necessary resources to protect women and men of this community," said George A. Perez, Director of Miami-Dade Police Department.

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