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County Board of Legislators Works to End Human Trafficking in Westchester
The Westchester County Board of Legislators is joining forces with the newly-formed Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force to eliminate human trafficking in Westchester County.
The collaboration is between members of the Board of Legislators, key service providers, law enforcement agencies, businesses and survivors.
During a news conference in Mount Kisco today, the Board served as co-hosts for a unique training session, held to educate 175 first responders including law enforcement, government officials, community organizations serving at-risk communities, health care providers and faith based organizations about the various ways to identify potential victims of trafficking.
"Fighting human trafficking is all about protection for the victims and accountability for those enslaving them," said Board Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers).
In recent years, there have been several prominent cases involving human trafficking in Westchester County and the Task force has said it will assist in the identification and rescue of mroe victims of both sex and labor trafficking.
Alison Boak, Founder of the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) said, "In my experience, human trafficking is all around us, we just don't see it. When we seriously begin to train key responders and raise community awareness about the problem, the men, women and children that are being inslaved in their own communities start to become visible to us."
In the past few years, the White Plains-based My Sister's Place has had nearly 40 cases of human trafficking referred to them. "We suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg, most victims are never identified--they are forced to suffer in silence and their traffickers continue with impunity," said Executive Director of My Sister's Place, Karen Cheeks-Lomax.
If you suspect someone is being trafficked in your community, you can contact The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-3888. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are kept confidential.
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