ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — It’s estimated that over 20 million people are trafficked every year, world wide. Here in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a series of bills aimed at preventing and helping those being trafficked.
“Traffickers use a large variety of tactics to assert and maintain control over their victim; create fear and dependence on them and often helps and stops people from leaving their circumstances,” said Hochul at a press event on Wednesday. The bills signed into law will increase awareness about trafficking by posting service information in lactation rooms at truck stops, airports, and port authority bus terminals. Michael Polenberg, VP of Government Affairs at Safe Horizon said, survivors may feel safer in a private setting and be more likely to take what information is available, “Wherever we can get this information out is so important.”
Also signed into law was a bill that will extend the state’s human trafficking task force. Part of their efforts will include studying the connection between social media and human trafficking. “There could be ways that people are engaging potential victims through social media, luring them to places under pretenses for finding work, or finding friendship or companionship, only to have it turn into something very, very different,” said Polenberg.
Chair of Women’s Issues, Senator Lea Webb said while this is a global issue it’s even more pervasive in New York, “Our geographical location, we’re not far from the Canadian border. New York is a big state, and when you think about all of the folks that come to New York whether it’s for tourism purposes or for residents that live here in the state.”
Webb said studies show a large percentage of victims are young, black girls, “We have a responsibility to do all that we can to address those because no family should ever have this experience.” To report any suspected activity related to human trafficking you can call 1-888-373-7888.