January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month: Southern Tier Human Trafficking Task Force takes action

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Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 2:26 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- The month of January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Southern Tier Human Trafficking Task Force Chairperson Jennifer Rodzinka said The Southern Tier Human Trafficking Task Force has multiple projects this month to create awareness.

“We’ll be going into schools and educating students on what that looks like and creating a social media campaign to help people recognize the trafficking tricks and how to avoid them,” Rodzinka said.

Another project that the Southern Tier Task Force is doing to create awareness is the “Red Sand Project.”

“The idea behind the Red Sand Project is it’s a way for the community to take action,” Southern Tier Human Trafficking Task Force Outreach Committee Co-chair Michelle Brown said. “The red sand you pour it into the cracks of the sidewalk or pavement and the idea is that you are bridging the gap between the victims who are silenced and them being able to get some help and support.”

Brown said the more we know the more we can prevent this from happening to someone who is vulnerable and needs protection.

Rodzinka said roughly 300,000 youth are trafficked every year in America and trafficking happens in Broome County.

“Some of the signs of human trafficking would be if a youth is withdrawn or they’re coming home with a bunch of money if they are coming home with a bunch of hotel cards or if they are feeling depressed,” Rodzinka said. “Often girls are the traffickers and men are typically the buyers but girls are the traffickers and they tend to befriend these girls and boys and once they gain their trust they start luring them into trafficking and it’s all downhill from there.”

If you or someone you know if a victim of human trafficking there is a Crime Victims Assistance Center 24-hour hotline 607-722-4256