Attorney General Bondi Kicks Off 2018 Human Trafficking Summit
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi today kicked off Florida’s 2018 Human Trafficking Summit in Orlando. The annual summit focuses on connecting stakeholders throughout Florida with the shared goal of eradicating human trafficking. Law enforcement, the legal community, educators, healthcare professionals, service providers and other first responders participated in the summit’s profession-specific breakout sessions and training opportunities.
“I am so proud of how far we have come in the fight to end human trafficking in our state. The laws we have created, the partnerships we have developed and the processes we have put in place have been possible because we are able to work together in Florida,” said Attorney General Bondi. “The Human Trafficking Summit is, and will continue to be, a valuable opportunity to bring law enforcement, activists and experts together to share ideas and build on the model we have built.”
To view the summit’s opening session, click here.
Additionally, Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution continues to aggressively prosecute multi-judicial circuit human trafficking cases in Florida. Working with state lawmakers, Attorney General Bondi helped create and chairs the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Part of the council’s duties include hosting the annual Human Trafficking Summit.
The summit serves as a forum for Floridians passionate about fighting human trafficking and helping survivors heal. Over the past several years, hundreds of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, community leaders, educators, government leaders, healthcare professionals, and survivors attend the summit to share ideas and provide help, encouragement and inspiration to others.
At today’s summit, Attorney General Bondi presented awards to leaders in the efforts to combat human trafficking in Florida:
· Yinay Ruiz, Community Advocate of the Year—Yinay Ruiz is the project manager of the Our Kids of Miami Dade/Monroe County Miami Cares Project. Ruiz is a dedicated advocate for vulnerable youth and strengthened the collaboration among providers, fellow advocates and law enforcement agencies. Instrumental in the development of GRACE Court serving young victims of human trafficking and organizing the Human Trafficking Child Plan Recovery Meeting, Ruiz helps bring together local, state and national law enforcement and government agencies to develop plans to recover children that are missing and suspected to be trafficked.
· Special Agent Supervisor Jose Ramirez, Law Enforcement Official of the Year—Special Agent Ramirez served 23 years in law enforcement and currently works for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a Special Agent Supervisor in the Miami Regional Operations Center, Major Crime Investigations Squad. Ramirez worked with the National Institution of Corrections, the Orange County Corrections Department and the Florida Department of Corrections to develop new policy and protocols that help institutions across the nation combat traffickers from recruiting vulnerable females from Florida’s prisons and jails. Ramirez also developed specialized training for law enforcement officials, that have been presented in many law enforcement agencies in Florida and overseas. While working with the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, Ramirez investigated human trafficking allegations across Florida. With the assistance of the Orange-Osceola County State Attorney’s Office and the Office of Statewide Prosecution, Special Agent Ramirez achieved the conviction of the first individual charged under Florida Statute 787.6 which prohibits human trafficking in Florida. Ramirez also achieved a conviction of the first individual sentenced to life in prison under the same statute.
· Nick Cox and the Office of Statewide Prosecution, Prosecutor of the Year—Cox is the Statewide Prosecutor for the Department of Legal Affairs, serving in that capacity since 2012. Under his leadership, OSP has assisted local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in investigating cases of human trafficking throughout Florida, leading to numerous arrests and prosecutions. Cox has tried approximately 150 criminal jury cases, including numerous homicides and capital cases, and served as chief of felony and economic crimes units. Cox also gained experience as a commercial litigator in private practice and as a faculty member at the Stetson University College of Law. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Cox served as the DCF Director for the Suncoast Region, encompassing an area from Pasco County to Collier County.
Additionally, DJJ named Therese Moses Human Trafficking Advocate of The Year. Already spending 27 years with DJJ, Moses serves as the Human Trafficking Liaison for Florida’s First Circuit Judiciary Court, covering Pensacola and the western Panhandle. She helped develop and maintain the First Circuit Court’s Human Trafficking Task Force, one of the largest and most active anti-trafficking task forces in the state.
DCF named Investigator Katia Coonan the DCF Human Trafficking Investigator of the Year. Coonan worked closely with law enforcement agencies in 12 counties helping to ensure comprehensive investigations are conducted. Coonan is also involved in Human Trafficking Task Forces in Florida’s Second and Fourteenth Circuit Courts, assisting with training investigators and case management staff on the Human Trafficking Screening Tool.
For more information about the summit, visit HumanTraffickingSummit.com.