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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

It is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries, with an estimated 100,000 children throughout the country involved each year. In 2008, New York State enacted the “Safe Harbour for Exploited Children Act” to remove sexually exploited youth from the jurisdiction of the criminal or juvenile justice systems to the family courts where these children and their families can receive the support and services they need.
In State Fiscal Year 2012-2013, OCFS received an appropriation of $1.5 million for “services and expenses associated with sexually exploited children.” This funding provides an opportunity to further Governor Cuomo’s commitment to address the needs of sexually exploited children through the development and implementation of a statewide child welfare response to child trafficking. OCFS contracted with International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) to develop a comprehensive statewide approach to child trafficking.  A pilot program involving the counties of Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Westchester, and the five boroughs of New York City is being launched to help identify and help child victims. The lessons learned from the pilot will be the blueprint for statewide implementation.
If you have information regarding suspected human trafficking involving a child in New York State, please contact the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse toll free at 1-800-342-3720 TDD/TTY: 1-800-638-5163. 
If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.