Western New York Seeking Court Dedicated to Human Trafficking

A federal court dedicated to cases of human trafficking could become a reality in the Western District of New York. The new court, Deputy Elizabeth Files of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office suggested, could be modeled after a similar effort in Queens County that championed the rights of sex-trafficking victims.

In all, more than 450 victims of human trafficking have been identified since 2006 in the 17 counties that comprise the state’s Western District, Files said.

“Our ability to rescue victims is growing,” said William Hochul Jr., U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, one of the first federal court districts in the country to establish a task force to combat human trafficking.

Karen O’Hara, of Springville – a former Mrs. New York America – founded United Hands of Hope, a group addressing human trafficking. O’Hara spoke of the need to teach young adults about the problem. “We hope to get this into the schools as part of a one-hour class each year for seventh grade to high school,” said O’Hara. “Recruiting young women for human trafficking does not happen overnight. The grooming process takes three to six months.”

Learn more at Jane Kwiatkowski’s The Buffalo News article: Advocates seek a federal court dedicated to human trafficking.

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