County Legislature recognizes National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 January 2023 at 12:42 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Orleans County Legislator John Fitzak, right, presents a proclamation for National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Accepting the proclamation on Tuesday are Sharon Nenni, left, a caseworker for the Safe Harbour Program and Theresa Elam-Zwifka, director of services for the for Orleans County Department of Social Services.

Legislators highlighted human trafficking which is a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion or when a person induced to perform such an act is not yet 18 years old.

Legislators also said trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

“Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but certain populations are disproportionately at risk, including people affected by prior abuse or sexual violence, poverty, and unstable living situations or homelessness, as well as those systemically marginalized and underserved,” legislators said in the resolution.

The county a year ago used a state grant to start the Safe Harbour program, which is designed to offer a safe place for teens (12-18 years of age). In addition to providing education and awareness, Safe Harbour provides lessons in life skills to promote a strong foundation to help children launch into their future.

The Legislature on Tuesday voted to accept $43,350 in Safe Harbour NY funding from the state Office of Children and Family Services. That will fund a countywide response to child trafficking and exploitation during 2023.