Salvation Army focuses in on SWFL’s trafficking problem

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Salvation Army held an anti-human trafficking seminar in Ft. Myers for the first time Wednesday.

The hour-long session covered what human trafficking is and how to spot it. Anti-trafficking coordinator Dotti Groover-Skipper with the Salvation Army said the most common types of trafficking in Southwest Florida are sex and labor trafficking. Groover-Skipper said the Salvation Army often may come into contact with trafficking victims and the staff needs to know how to help them.

“Salvation Army has been in the trenches with this issue for 150 years…It’s very important for the Salvation Army staff people, in the social services, in corrections departments, in our youths departments to know the signs to look for and what to do, it’s crucial. With the clientele we typically serve many are very vulnerable population groups that we need to be in tune with.”

Along with Salvation Army staff, others in the community participated in the free class, including TSA agents, nurses and a local officer who said he wanted to learn more about the resources for the victims of this crime.

“It brings home how close it is to our front door. You don’t know if this is someone down the street, a worker at your closest restaurant and people generally need help getting out of this situation and these folks are trying to do that,” said James Didio who works with the Sanibel Police Department and is running for Lee Couny sheriff. “I think awareness for local, street level cops. Going out there, being on these scenes in low-income level communities, going out into the community, they need to be able to recognize better the victims or the suspects.”

There is another session geared for children at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army on 10291 McGregor Boulevard. It is free to the public.

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