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Port Tampa Bay is pleased to introduce CEO Corner, from President and CEO Paul Anderson. CEO Corner is a monthly blog that takes a high-level look at issues that affect the maritime community, as well as Tampa Bay.

CEO Corner: Raising awareness and preventing the tragedy of human trafficking

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of CEO Corner. A monthly blog where we take a deep dive into the issues that affect the maritime industry. This month, we are talking about the importance of raising awareness and preventing human trafficking. As you may already know, January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This is an issue of personal importance and one that is important to Port Tampa Bay and our maritime community. Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery and I have remained focused on raising awareness and preventing this tragedy.

I am proud to share that Port Tampa Bay has a long track record of raising awareness on this important issue. Through my work with the USDOT’s select advisory committee on Human Trafficking, our ongoing work with Truckers Against Trafficking, The Department of Homeland Security, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), as well as many other trade associations and third-party groups, Port Tampa Bay leads our maritime industry to continue fighting against this terrible practice. I encourage you to read more about our partnership with BEST on the Port Tampa Bay Newsroom. Additionally, port leaders sit on Hillsborough County’s Human Trafficking Awareness advisory committee, ensuring that we maintain best practices with other leaders in the county.

Last year, during a meeting of the National Council of State Legislators, I was proud to participate in a panel discussion on Human Trafficking hosted by Women in Government. This robust discussion showed me that although we have made great progress, there is still more to be done. As part of Port Tampa Bay’s ongoing commitment to end trafficking, in January, our employees took part in a virtual training course to provide our staff with the information needed to recognize and report trafficking and worker exploitation. The training includes discussions on who is at risk, where human trafficking is most pervasive, and the laws involved, as well as how to recognize signs and offer help and support. Our work to prevent modern-day slavery will continue.

Every person deserves a life of dignity. I am proud of our actions to bring awareness and lead toward an end of the scourge of human trafficking.