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Pinellas County
Campaign targets human trafficking
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St. Petersburg College is co-sponsoring a public service campaign about human trafficking with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The campaign includes two 15- and 30-second public service announcements for television; a five-minute mini-documentary that will be shown at conventions, in schools and on Web sites; a video news release; and b-roll. All of the components are being produced in English and Spanish.

“Our expectation is to use these public service announcements and documentary to combat human trafficking throughout the Tampa Bay area,” said Clearwater Police Deputy Chief Dewey Williams, who chairs Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking.

The project is funded by grants from St. Petersburg College. The college, through its Regional Community Policing Institute, has been a leader in providing human trafficking training to law enforcement and community leaders throughout the Southeast for several years.

“While not widely known outside of law enforcement, human trafficking is a serious problem in Florida and a growing one in the Tampa Bay area,” said SPC president Carl Kuttler. “Since SPC is committed to training law enforcement officers in this region, we recognized this project as an opportunity to make a difference among the victims of human trafficking, many of whom are women and children.”

Human trafficking is defined as the exploitation by force, fraud or coercion of vulnerable people. Many are immigrants. Victims may be forced into labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex operations. Florida is a major destination for victims who are trafficked into the U.S.

Besides St. Petersburg College, the Clearwater Police, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking, contributors to the public service campaign include the Hispanic Outreach Center; World Relief; and Gulfcoast Legal Services.

Tampa Digital Studios is producing the various components of the campaign. It recently completed creative and production, shooting on location at a home in Tampa’s Westchase neighborhood and at the old Tampa Armature Building in Ybor City. The project is now in post-production.
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