I am not big on Big Government and creating more laws! These most recent eight bills just signed by Governor Hochul are ones I do appreciate and I believe a no brainier. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of eight bills at the end of July to require information about human trafficking and ways to help victims be prominently featured as information cards and signs in places victims are taken the most often. Those include airports, bus terminals, hotels and truck stops. The new legislation will also increase human trafficking awareness training for employees in those industries.
These types of prominently displayed signs DO help victims when they are being transported by their traffickers. I am pleased that New York is starting to make some progress in helping victims but they have a long way to go. Currently, NY state scores a big fat F on their report card from Shared Hope International at https://reportcards.sharedhope.org/newyork/D on the minimum fabric of laws needed to address child sex trafficking. Additionally, NY state received a big D from the Polaris Project at https://polarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-CriminalRecordRelief-NewYork.pdf on their criminal record relief for survivors.
It is important that you know the signs of trafficking. I’m not an advocate for bars or drinking; however, I am an advocate for training. Christie Foster, a bar tender, versed herself on the signs of trafficking and it resulted in identifying a victim in the bar where she works, see https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/news/2022/08/09/bartenders-in-new-york-train-to-spot-human-trafficking.
You can educate yourself very quickly by watching a free video sponsored by Safe House Project at https://www.iamonwatch.org/. Additionally, if you are a health care worker you can educate yourself in a short amount of time at https://www.safehouseproject.org/healthcare. Here are some basic signs of trafficking:
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
- Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
- Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
- Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
- Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
- Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
Make a difference, take 15-20 minutes to educate yourself; maybe you will be able to help someone who desperately needs to be set free from bondage and suffering!