NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
June 10, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


     Inspector George Collins of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is a recipient of the 2009 Freedom Award from the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Each year, FCAHT recognizes organizations or individuals for their valuable work and support for combating human trafficking  in the state of Florida    FCAHT Director Anna Rodriguez says Collins was selected unanimously by the staff for his "leadership, compassion, and dedication to protecting victims of human trafficking".

     In addition to rescuing and assisting victims of trafficking in Northwest Florida, Collins has been called upon by law enforcement authorities in New Mexico, Texas, and other parts of Florida to assist in developing counter-human trafficking efforts and curriculum.

     Human trafficking is using force, fraud, or coercion to obtain a person for labor or services, including commercial sex acts, and is considered the modern form of slavery. It takes place within and across borders. The U.S.

State Department estimates that  17,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year. Internationally, nearly 80 percent of the victims are women and girls, and up to fifty percent are children under the age of 18.