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Continuing The Conversation About Sex Trafficking Awareness Month Beyond January

U.S. Department of State

On this last day of January, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the full hour of Gulf Coast Live will focus on victims of sex trafficking. WGCU’s Jessica Meszaroshas been working on the story, and the information she found on this growing trend may come as a surprise.

After hearing the stories of two women who were sold for sex, you'll hear from the people trying to help victims piece their lives back together. Sally and Lowell Senitz with Wings of Shelter will talk about the cases they’ve dealt with and what these people go through trying to regain control of their lives.

Credit Jessica Meszaros / WGCU News
Misty Kinzel, local sex trafficking survivor and author of "From the Street to the Cross"

We’ll also talk with the president of the Southwest Florida Regional Human Trafficking Coalition, Lynn Brewer, about who is targeted by these pimps and how you can help if you suspect something happening near you.

The national human trafficking hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888 or the Florida abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE, or just call 911. 

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media, and former reporter and host of All Things Considered for WGCU News.