South Florida SunSentinel by Angie Dimichele
The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s investigations team won the top prize in the fourth annual Esserman-Knight Journalism Awards for its Innocence Sold series.
Investigations Editor Brittany Wallman, Senior Editor David Schutz and reporters David Fleshler and Spencer Norris’ four-part series uncovered how state failures contribute to child sex trafficking, how hotels have gotten away with thousands of violations of an anti-trafficking law, and how the state’s foster care system gives sex traffickers access to vulnerable children. The team’s project also highlighted how victims are often treated as criminals.
The awards, sponsored by the Esserman Family Fund for Investigative Journalism in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, “recognizes some of South Florida’s most impactful investigative stories and has become an honored tradition in the local journalism scene,” the Knight Foundation’s website says.