Top law enforcement agencies and child welfare providers unite to prevent the sexual exploitation of children

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2013
FORT LAUDERDALE - A Cyber-Safety & Human Trafficking Conference is being held today at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale to offer child welfare providers information that will help them identify and inform police about potential child sexual exploitation.

“The response for this conference has been outstanding,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Miami Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge, Addy Villanueva.  “Training those who come in contact daily with vulnerable children will help law enforcement and child welfare providers better protect those children.”
The conference was developed by FDLE and ChildNet, to address the need for high-level, quality training provided by the law enforcement community. 
“Predators look for vulnerable youth who have a history of trauma and are seeking a sense of belonging,” said ChildNet Chief Executive Officer Emilio Benitez. “For these reasons, youth in foster care are easily victimized by sex traffickers. By learning about the warning signs and working hand in hand with law enforcement agencies, child welfare providers can prevent this type of exploitation and keep children in care safe from further trauma and abuse.”
The daylong conference features topics on international human trafficking, domestic minor sex trafficking, online child exploitation and cyber safety by subject matter experts from the FDLE, FBI, DHS, ICE and the United States Attorney’s Office. 
The conference is being offered free-of-charge to foster parents, foster care service providers and guardian ad litem volunteers.
“Florida is a national leader in the fight against human trafficking and rescuing children who fall victim to this abuse,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins. “We appreciate our law enforcement and child welfare partners for hosting this educational conference to raise awareness of this horrific crime amongst those caring for our most vulnerable children.”
ChildNet is the Community Based Care lead agency in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001
Elizabeth Wynter, Ed.D. LMHC
Director of Community Relations
(954) 414-6000 ext. 8036 

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.