Effort to combat human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl underway in South Florida

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: via WINK News.

The state attorney’s general office, truck drivers and drivers of rideshare services are teaming up to help save victims of human trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl in Miami Sunday.

It’s drivers such as Mike Quirem who are making the calls that are saving lives the of human trafficking victims.

“Once you’re on the road for a while you start to kind of pick up signs when women are dressed a certain way,” Quirem said. “Approaching people, you just kind of pick up on that. Usually there’s a guy or two behind.”

Now,  Attorney General Ashley Moody is enlisting both rideshare drivers and truck drivers in the fight against human trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl.

“Just kind of know what’s happening, and you try to call it out or call the police,” Quirem said.

Over the last few weeks, the attorney general and Uber say they trained drivers across South Florida about what to look for.

Uber drivers such as James Gardy are watching for coached responses, burns and bruises.

“Anybody can get into your car,” Gardy said. “It’s always important to have that extra being vigilant making sure you’re always aware of your surroundings and situations because anything can happen.”

Around last year’s Super Bowl, 160 people were arrested on human trafficking charges.

With Miami-Dade County ranking first in Florida and third in the nation for sex trafficking, authorities are begging everyone to stay aware on the roads leading to and from the big game.

Uber told us this year was the first time it could offer the training sessions in both English and Spanish.

Because of the Super Bowl, riders might see the National Human Trafficking Hotline pasted in the rear-view mirror of a vehicle on their next trip.

Super Bowl will bring a major tourist boost to the Miami area, so Florida’s attorney general equipped truck drivers too with training sessions.

“I’m fairly new on the road, so I really haven’t seen much,” Gardy said. “But, if I do, I’ll be sure to actually contact help. I have kids of my own, and I hate for that to happen to other people’s kids.”

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