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Miami-Dade Police Teams Up With FPL To End Human Trafficking In South Florida

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - In the fight to end human trafficking in South Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department will now team up with Florida Power and Light.

FPL employees will receive special training, both online or in-person, which will help them identify red flags and know how to report suspicious activity to police.

"We have employees in that are in the community, whether they're up in a bucket truck and they're working on the lines, whether they're working on an underground system and they're doing something on those transformers that you see in your backyards or your front yards," said Irene White, the Senior Director of External Affairs for Miami-Dade County for FPL.

Miami-Dade Police said FPL employees' unique access to our yards and our homes, makes them the perfect lookout for things like excess traffic in and out of homes or mattresses and bedding in a business that doesn't need those items.

"To fight crime in this community, it takes all of us and it's not just police," said Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez.

County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins announced the first of its kind partnership on Wednesday outside police headquarters in Doral. "To the criminals who are engaging in this act, we are coming for you," she said.

FPL employees can access online training starting immediately. Beginning this summer, FPL will begin training roughly 350 of its employees in person. FPL said its employees will not engage in suspicious situations but will alert a corporate security team who will then contact police, if necessary.

Florida ranks third for calls reported to the human trafficking hotline and Miami-Dade County ranks number one for calls across the state, according to Caridad Mas-Batchelor, a Special Projects Administrator for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

"Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida are very uniquely placed," said Mas-Batchelor, who also serves as Task Force Coordinator for the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. "Our location allows for entering and exiting our state easily through our ports of Miami and the airports. And our access to and accessibility to the Caribbean Islands also allows for a lot of transport in and out."

In January, Miami-Dade County and Police also announced a human trafficking campaign aimed at bringing awareness to the crime. Leaders said the campaign would include signs, educational material, and public service announcements posted on county buses and social media pages.

To report suspected human trafficking, or to get help if you are a victim, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-37-37-888 or text HELP to 233733.

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