Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, including here in the United States, and is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Human trafficking affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Locally, Catholic Charities, in partnership with the Schuyler County Youth Bureau, operates the Safe Harbour Program serving anyone 10-24 years old who has run away, is at risk of running away or has been a victim of human trafficking. The local 24-hour hotline can be reached by calling or texting 607-742-9629 any time. A new website with resources and help can be found at safeharbourhelp.org.
Candice Ozolins, Runaway and Homeless Youth Counselor, will be hosting “Human Trafficking 101” on Wednesday, February 27, from 6pm-8pm at Fulkerson Winery (5576 SR 14, Dundee, NY). This will be a time to train concerned individuals on how to recognize and report trafficking, as well as tips to protect yourself, family, and friends. Please register by calling 607-535-2050 or emailing Candice.Ozolins@dor.org by February 25.
Catholic Charities and the Schuyler County Youth Bureau are also seeking Volunteer Host Homes to take in runaway youth. Volunteers receive training and youth stay in the home 30 days or less. If you are interested in becoming a Host Home, please contact Candice at 607-535-2050, ext. 206.
For more information, please visit the Safe Harbour website at safeharbourhelp.org or call 607-535-2050 and speak with Candice.
If you believe you may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.