Safe Harbour, Putnam County’s anti-human trafficking program, recently announced the launch of its free mobile app Safe Harbour Putnam County, which is available at the App Store for iOS/iPhone/iPad, and Google Play Store for Android devices.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where victims are sold for sex or labor,” said Michael Piazza Jr., commissioner of the Departments of Mental Health, Social Services and Youth Bureau. “It exists everywhere, and that includes Putnam County. This app not only helps us educate the community about trafficking and what to look for, but provides information to at-risk youth and youth being trafficked about where they can go for help.”
The app is designed for easy use and includes in-depth definitions of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, indicators to assess a youth’s risk of trafficking, tips on how to help if a youth is a victim of trafficking, and resources and programs in Putnam County that are available to trafficked youth and those at risk of trafficking.
In order to raise awareness of this crime, and in recognition of January as National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Putnam County Courthouse will be illuminated in blue.
“Human Trafficking is everywhere, including Putnam County,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “By lighting the courthouse blue, we show our support for victims and survivors. Every business, community organization, faith community, school, family and individual can make a difference. I urge everyone to learn the signs of human trafficking.”
It is estimated that 300,000 domestic youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation, and that 100,000 children are the victims of sex trafficking every year. The average age of youth being forced into the commercial sex trade is 12 to 14 years old.
However, all youth are at risk for trafficking, regardless of socio-economic class, race and gender, according to county officials. Runaway and homeless youth, those who have been in foster care, and LGBTQ youth are at higher risk, they say.
Warning signs of human trafficking can include a history of multiple runaways or homelessness, frequent absences from school, unexplained changes in lifestyle such as excessive amounts of cash or items that a youth cannot reasonably afford, a controlling relationship with an older partner or adult, signs of physical abuse, and/or a lack of documentation.
For more information on how you can help prevent human trafficking, contact Safe Harbour at 845-808-1500, or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.