Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that Children’s Protective Services (CPS), a division of the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS), in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Office of Youth Services, the Police Department, Probation Department, The Safe Center LI and Family and Children’s Association, are raising public awareness regarding youth trafficking and commercial exploitation of youth.
Through a grant from New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Nassau County DSS was awarded $112,500 to create a Safe Harbour program designed to address trafficked and commercially exploited youth. Nassau County’s Safe Harbour Project is a County-wide, coordinated, multi-system, long-term strategy to enhance the identification, protection and service delivery for children who are victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and to provide services to best meet their individual needs.
Each year, it is estimated that over 100,000 children in the United States are at risk of being trafficked for commercial sex. While youth in any community can become a victim of trafficking and exploitation, certain youth are at greater risk. Youth at-risk often have unstable family situations and have little or no social supports. Runway and homeless youth, children involved with child protective services and foster care, as well as Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) youth are also at increased risk for exploitation and trafficking.
County Executive Mangano stated, “Nassau County is dedicated to addressing the service needs of children at-risk of, or victims of, sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Together, we are eradicating trafficking and exploitation of youth while assisting victims with the Safe Harbour Project.”
DSS Commissioner John E. Imhof said, “As evidenced in the County Executive Mangano’s commitment to raise public awareness regarding family violence, he is equally passionate about making the public aware of youth who are victims of trafficking. We need to continue to raise awareness in all communities.”
If you know a child who may be in danger, call The Safe Center at (516) 542-0404. In situations involving imminent danger, dial 911. For more information, e-mail: Safe.Harbour@hhsnassaucountyny.us.