Conference on Human Trafficking Aimed at Raising Awareness

Look Beneath the Surface PosterSSW and New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) co-hosted a October 2 conference to raise awareness and increase knowledge among students and community members about human trafficking. Speakers included Lynn Baniak, OCFS policy analyst; Christa Stewart, coordinator of the Human Trafficking Programs at the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; and Lauren Pesso, director, Human Trafficking Program at My Sisters’ Place.

Participants learned about types of human trafficking, such as labor and child sex trafficking. Other topics included the Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the NYS Anti-Trafficking Statute; myths about human trafficking; and how to identify victim interactions, promote safety, confirm and certify victims, find available services, and perform proper referrals.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with $32 billion in profits annually. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that, at any given time, 100,000 to 300,000 domestic minor victims are at risk of falling prey to this criminal industry.

Web resources highlighting the conference can be found on the conference’s main website, via a WAMC radio interview with SSW Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson and student organizer Lima James, and a Channel 6 news clip featuring Lynn Baniak.