New York: Fight Child Trafficking; Fully Fund Our Safe Harbor Laws!

Many people might not realize is that the youth homelessness epidemic we face right here in the United States is one of the leading causes of child trafficking.

A recent study from Covenant House New York showed that almost a quarter of the homeless young people surveyed had been commercially sexually exploited. Half of the kids who engaged in commercial sex said they would not have done so if they had had safe shelter.

Right now, on any given night, there are 100 kids on waiting lists for shelter in New York City.

Recently New York passed a Safe Harbor law, which recognizes that kids who have been sexually exploited for profit must be considered victims in need of services, not criminals. But without funding to give these kids shelter and a strong safety net, we will never turn the tide on child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Take action today: Send a message to the New York state legislature calling for full funding to enable young victims to benefit from the services that Albany says they are due.

New Yorkers have worked hard to pass a thoughtful package of legislation to help sexually exploited children; we can't abuse them further by refusing to put programs in place for them.
Dear [Representative],

I was proud to see New York become the first state to pass a Safe Harbor law, which recognizes that kids who have been sexually exploited for profit must be considered victims in need of services, not criminals. And I am proud that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an improvement to that law extending that protection to 16- and 17-year-olds as well.

Now I call on Now we call on State leaders to implement these excellent laws, by providing the funding to enable young victims to benefit from the services that Albany says they are due. New Yorkers have worked hard to pass a thoughtful package of legislation to help sexually exploited children; we can't abuse them further by refusing to put programs in place for them.

[Your comment will be added here]

New York's children need a stronger safety net: at least 25 long-term, residential treatment center beds for sexually exploited children, 40 crisis shelter "Safe House" beds for victms of human trafficking, an additional 100 beds for homeless kids with nowhere else to turn, as well as outreach services, mental health care, and a service coordinator in each of the new trafficking courts.

New York has precedent-setting laws to protect the young sexually-exploited victim. It is time we break more ground by backing them up with funding for promised services, so we can help survivors of human trafficking work towards the bright futures they deserve.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
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