County Executive McCoy to Mark Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Saturday, January 11
Please Participate by Donating Items and Wearing Blue
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy will recognize National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Albany County Saturday, as well as the entire month of January, to raise awareness and help victims of these reprehensible, inhumane crimes.
Along with the annual awareness campaign Albany County leads, 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 or abused through forced labor are runaway youth with very few belongings to their name and may be vulnerable in other ways.
“People who exploit the vulnerable and those dealing with poverty and addiction for personal wealth need to be held accountable. But the victims of these heinous crimes are hiding in plain sight – some in spas, hotels, restaurants, farms and on the street – which is why last year we launched a new webpage designed to help bring attention to the issue,” said County Executive McCoy.
“Human trafficking has sadly become an epidemic and a global multi-billion-dollar industry, so it’s imperative that we identify those who are suffering and those who are at risk, and provide them with the resources to be independent, break free and heal,” he continued.
“Through our Safe Harbour Program and our new dedicated website, we are putting the issue of human trafficking at the forefront once again and connecting more of those in need with desperately needed social and health services,” said Albany County Department of Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Gail Geohagen-Pratt. “Last year, we were able to connect 40 local youth with donated toiletries, clothing and other items, along with transportation assistance or counseling. While there is still more work to be done, I thank County Executive McCoy for making this a priority of our administration.”
According to the Polaris Project, there was a 25% increase in the number of human trafficking cases in the United States between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, there were 10,949 cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and among states, New York had the fourth highest number with 492. Nationally, the Top 5 risk factors associated with incidences of human trafficking were recent migration/relocation (3,516), substance abuse (710), unstable housing (593), runaway/homeless youth (569), and mental health concerns (530). Sixty-five percent of cases were female and more than 21% were minors.
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.
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 are also available to pick up items and you can call (518) 447-4938 to coordinate 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.