Sex Crimes up 30% in Lee County

Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 18:29:52-05

FORT MYERS, FLa. -- Victims of sex crimes, especially human trafficking have lived through traumatizing life experiences. "I ended up getting taped with duck tape with my hands and my feet because I didn't want to, I guess you could say render my services. He became upset and he said that if I didn't, he would kill me," says one victim who wanted to conceal her identity.

She's among Lee County's growing number of sex crimes victims; a list that's more than doubled over the past year. "We used to see four to six cases a month when we do the forensic examination, now we're seeing 16 cases a month," says Jennifer Benton, CEO of the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center.

Benton attributes the increase to higher crime rates, increased population, and more people reporting what they see. It really messes you up. It messes up your perception. It makes you feel dirty. It makes you feel promiscuous," said the Human trafficking victim.

Even though sex crimes are becoming a larger issue for the Fort Myers Police Department and the Lee County Sheriffs Office to deal with, its one Benton tells me both Law Enforcement and the abuse counseling treatment center are continually looking for solutions. "Law enforcement are very progressive and work with FDLE a lot when it comes to human trafficking."