TAMPA, Fla. — According to Tampa police, two women who were reportedly victims of human trafficking were rescued. The investigation began when one of the women came forward to report her situation at the end of May.
She revealed that she had been trafficked by a person she met while still in Cuba. This individual promised to bring her to the U.S. in exchange for a debt of $80,000.
To pay off this debt, the woman was forced to work as an exotic dancer. Agreeing to the arrangement, she was flown to Nicaragua in November 2022 and traveled through Central America and Mexico to enter the United States.
Once in Tampa in December 2022, she was restricted to the trafficker’s house and was only allowed to leave for work. The trafficker even advertised her for sex.
Fortunately, she managed to escape the trafficker’s home in late February and sought help at the District 1 Office. As a result, the Human Trafficking Task Force got involved and discovered another victim in a similar situation.
Both women were promised entry into the U.S. in exchange for significant debts and were forced to work as exotic dancers. The trafficker not only exploited them but also kept all the money they earned.
The police have connected the rescued women with support organizations that specialize in helping human trafficking victims.
The investigation is still ongoing to identify more victims and apprehend the unnamed trafficker. Chief Lee Bercaw expressed gratitude to the brave victims for speaking out and enabling the authorities to assist them and pursue justice against the perpetrators.
It’s important to note that Florida ranks third in the nation for the most human trafficking cases. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you are encouraged to report it anonymously through TIP 411 or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.