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First Coast Connect

01/12/16: Human Trafficking; The Jones Act And Puerto Rico; 'Cotton Alley'

It’s a form of modern-day slavery and one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide.

Federal and state authorities are stepping up their efforts to fight human trafficking of all types, whether it's minors forced into the sex trade or workers coerced into unpaid labor.

Florida is an epicenter for trafficking.

As the nation marks Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we speak with Amanda Rolfe, President, and Prudence Williams, Executive Director, of the Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida about what’s being done here on the First Coast to raise awareness and bring traffickers to justice. 

A fiscal nightmare is brewing in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where employees take home a smaller share of income than anywhere else in the United States. 

Some policymakers argue that one of the reasons for this is the Jones Act. That longstanding maritime law requires that shipping between U.S. ports can be done only by American-built and American-crewed vessels.

The Jones Act has come under fresh scrutiny in the wake of the El Faro shipping disaster, which ended in the loss of 33 crew members out of Jacksonville during Hurricane Joaquin.

Author Nelson Denis explores the Jones Act's effects on Puerto Rico and the history of U.S. intervention into that territory's politics in his new book, "War Against All Puerto Ricans." He joins us with more.

And we preview Players by the Sea's production of "Cotton Alley" with playwright Olivia Gowan.

Subscribe to the First Coast Connect podcast in iTunes.

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.