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County employees undergo training to spot sex trafficking victims

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James Kelly works for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation.

“My job is to mainly maintain ball fields,” he said.

Kelly never imagined his job would put him on the front lines to help victims of human trafficking.

“A lot of times you see women and men hanging out in cars, people going to restrooms," he said.

“There are things that are happening in parking lots, in bathrooms out on the trials and we want the employees to really be aware of,” said Monica Gonzalez, a licensed therapist with Palm Beach County Victim Services.

Gonzalez is training county workers like Kelly how to spot behavioral and physical signs of human trafficking.

“This tattoo up here is just a simple heart, but that is a tattoo of a victim here in Florida,” she said.

Tanya Meade, who assists with the training, said victims depend on regular people to help save them.

“Victims don't self report," she said. "So they are not calling the hotline saying I am a victim of human trafficking."

But it’s people like Kelly who can make a difference.

“If I think there is a possibility this person is doing it not in their own free will, I got the phone number locked into my phone and I am going to make the phone call,” he said.

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Other frontline employees including Code Enforcement, Animal Care and Control and Justice Services, have all received the same training.

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