HT8 TASK FORCE
“Preventing, Protecting, Prosecuting, a series of five programs on Modern Day Slavery” brought us together in Fall 2012, helping to educate our community and spread awareness of local human trafficking issues in Alachua County, Florida. At this time, a young woman came forward who had spent years of her life as a victim of child sex trafficking. Learning of her long-term recovery needs, it started becoming apparent that adequate resources for victims and survivors of human trafficking were lacking in our county.
The Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking Initiative was held May 2013 with about 100 in attendance. The focus was on the 4th “P” – Partnership - in the fight against human trafficking. Our mission was to build a safety network of partnerships that will work together to identify, rescue, and restore victims of all forms of human trafficking within Alachua County. Four committees were formed to start addressing specific problems related to victim services/advocacy, criminal justice, awareness and education. Since the initiative, we have had regular meetings with training by professionals in the fields of law enforcement, criminal justice, victim advocacy and social services.
In January of 2014 we became a non-profit organization and in February of 2015 we received our 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service. Going forward, we plan to establish partnerships and work toward our mission to build a network of partnerships in Alachua County that unites governmental agencies, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, victim service providers, educational institutions, civic groups, and concerned citizens to prevent the exploitation of adults and children in all forms of human trafficking, rescue victims, and provide rehabilitative services for survivors.
As the coalition continued to grow and with the help of the State Attorney's Office we were asked to not only serve Alachua county but all the counties in the 8th Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 2019, we were able to add to the board of directors individuals from the other counties in our district, including the participation of local law enforcement. In January 2020, the coalition became the North Central Florida Human Trafficking Task Force (HT8) to serve Alalchua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.