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County Executive to Mark Human Trafficking & Slavery Prevention Day with Inaugural Webpage

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:03 AM

Public Invited to Participate by Donating Items and Wearing Blue

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy will recognize National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Day, as well as the entire month of January, in Albany County this Friday with the launch of an inaugural County webpage dedicated to raising awareness and helping victims of these reprehensible crimes.

Along with the awareness campaign Albany County leads each year, the public is also being invited to participate by donating clothing and personal care items and to wear blue on January 11. Many of those who are sexually exploited are runaway youth with very few belongings to their name and may be vulnerable in other ways, including those with chemical dependencies.

“Estimates show that one out of every seven endangered runaways that were reported in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking, with New York ranked the fifth highest among all other states in reported cases,” said County Executive McCoy. “As a father of two daughters, this heinous issue is especially personal. We must ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice that the public is educated on the dangers and prevalence of sexual exploitation, and that victims have all the services they need to recover and heal.”

“Through our Safe Harbour Program and this new website page, we are not only putting the issue of human trafficking at the forefront once again, but connecting more of our residents and those in need with desperately needed social and health services,” said Albany County Department of Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Gail Geohagen-Pratt. “These children need food, shelter, clothing, counseling and other services to get their lives back on track and I thank County Executive McCoy for making this a priority of our administration.”

The Safe Harbour Program is funded through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and seeks to first identify those who may be victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, prevent those who may be at risk of becoming victims. Once those individuals have been identified, critical services, like case management, transportation assistance and vocational and recreational therapy, are provided.

Sadly, the average age of initial trafficking of a victim of trafficking and exploitation is 13 years old. Eighty percent of those identified are female and more than half are children, though the issue affects all ages, genders and sexual orientations. Estimates from Polaris Project project that there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been victimized throughout the United States.

Those wishing to make donations can drop off items such as socks, underwear, hairbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, hand sanitizer, portable phone chargers, bottled water and trail mix, among others, at the Children’s Advocacy Center, 260 South Pearl Street, Albany, NY. Albany County staff is also available to pick up items and you can call (518) 447-4938 to set up a time. If you are concerned about someone who is at risk or potentially a victim, you are encouraged to call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

See the below link for the full list of items being collected:

http://www.albanycounty.com/Government/Departments/DepartmentforChildrenYouthandFamilies/safeharbour.aspx

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Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy