Monday, April 14, 2014

A Petition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging for much-needed funds to support human trafficking victims.

A Petition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging for much-needed funds to support human trafficking victims.

    2. Petition by
January is human trafficking awareness month.  This year, let’s do more than just talk about the horrors of human trafficking. Let’s start solving it, by reducing the number of potential victims.   To do that we need your help!  Please urge Governor Cuomo to provide critically-needed funding for victims of human trafficking and homeless youth at risk of trafficking in his Executive Budget, which will be released at the end of January.

As the President of Covenant House, New York's largest provider of services to homeless, trafficked and at-risk youth, I see firsthand the struggles young people face on our streets every day. We know all too well that there are not enough beds for homeless young people in the state, and when vulnerable youth do not have access to shelter and services, there is a pimp or trafficker lying in wait to lure them in.   A recent study by Covenant House New York/Fordham University found that almost one in four of surveyed Covenant House youth were either victims of trafficking or felt they needed to trade sex in order to survive. Almost half of them said that not having a place to stay was a main reason for their trafficking experiences.   More state funding for homeless youth is critical to ensuring that fewer young people are exploited on our streets.

In 2008, New York was the first state to pass groundbreaking safe harbor legislation to protect young victims of sex trafficking, to provide them with help (housing, social services, and medical care) rather than with handcuffs.  And just this month, Governor Cuomo signed critically important legislation extending the ground-breaking Safe Harbor Act to 16- and 17 year- olds. But laws are not enough. To aid these children and youth in escaping the violence of human trafficking, New York needs to fully fund this critical law.  New York’s sexually exploited youth need mental health care, lawyers, doctors, job training and education, and most of all safe places to live and heal.  Yet, there is woefully little state funding to provide these things for them.

That is why we are asking Governor Cuomo to continue New York State’s leadership in protecting trafficking victims by including $20.2 million in this year’s Executive Budget to fund services for trafficking victims and homeless youth.

Please sign this petition to Governor Cuomo to urge him to start solving human trafficking.

Kevin Ryan
President, Covenant House

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