Protesters voicing their concerns over Human Trafficking in Collier County

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Collier County human trafficking protest. (Credit: WINK News)

Over a dozen people showed up to protest human trafficking in Collier County on Wednesday. The protesters stood in front of the Collier County Courthouse to voice their concerns about the horrific crime.

The sheriff’s office supports the protesters, and there is no mistaking their message. The signs are big and bold, “Stop exotic massage parlors.” “Sex slavery should not be a tourist attraction.”

“A lot of times these aren’t, these are women coming over here that are coerced or being trafficked,” said protest organizer Teddy Collins.

Collins and Lisa Steadman organized the small rally. They said they want law enforcement to look into every massage parlor in Naples and all of Collier County. They want to know that the women who work there are safe. Why? “It’s lists, four pages worth, exotic massage parlors with reviews in Naples,” said protest organizer Lisa Steadman. 46 massage parlors in total.

In a March 12th Facebook post, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office reminded everyone how detectives took down a large, state-wide sex ring involving massage parlors.

In January, Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk announced a partnership with the Shelter for Abused Women and Children and a new program called ISP, Identify, Support, Prosecute. “Some of the more notable cases over the last several years are the trafficking cases, with Asian massage parlors that were initiated by Collier County deputies right here in the Naples area,” said Rambosk.

“And so the ISP model, it stands for, identify, support and prosecute. It’s a model that uses a human rights based approach that emphasizes treatment and support for victims of human trafficking while holding the buyers and traffickers accountable for their offenses,” said Julie Franklin, CFO for the Shelter for Abused Women and Children.

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