January has been designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month to better focus attention on this horrific crime and the exploited victims whose lives are forever changed.
Many of our state and local politicians have been so very instrumental in co-sponsoring and/or supporting various bills which treat survivors of human trafficking as the victims they are, rather than as criminals. I would personally like to thank: Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, City Councilman Ed Kosiur, state Sens. George A. Amedore and James Tedisco, Assemblymen Angelo Santabarbara and Phillip Steck, U.S. Sens. Kirstin Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Paul Tonko.
Since its inception in 1985, Safe Inc. of Schenectady, located at 1344 Albany St., has been at the forefront of providing emergency shelter and outreach services to more than 8,000 adolescents, teens and young adults.
Its two highly regarded programs, Safe House — a co-ed youth shelter for homeless, runaway and other at-risk youth — and Project Safe, a continuum of services including counseling, health and wellness care, job training and life skills development (for ages 18-35), offer positive alternatives to street life where sexual exploitation and victimization are so rampant.
Safe Inc. of Schenectady is the designee for New York state’s Safe Harbour initiative in Schenectady County. Safe Inc. of Schenectady has developed a collaborative task force, a community awareness campaign, provides case assessment referrals in collaboration with the County Multidisciplinary Team and Child Advocacy Center, refines interview strategies for the Department of Social Services and Safe Inc., and trains all staff in trauma-focused care.
The writer is board president of Safe Inc. of Schenectady.