CARMEL – In recognition of January as National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Putnam County Courthouse in Carmel will be lit with blue light, said County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
“Human Trafficking is everywhere, including Putnam County,” said Odell. “By lighting the courthouse blue, we show our support for victims and survivors. Every business, community organization, faith community, school, family and individual can make a difference. I urge everyone to learn the signs of human trafficking.”
It is estimated that 300,000 domestic youths are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation and that 100,000 children are the victims of sex trafficking every year.
The average age of youths being forced into the commercial sex trade is 12 to14. All youths are at risk for trafficking, regardless of socio-economic class, race, and gender. Runaway and homeless youth, youth who have been in foster care, and LGBTQ youth are at higher risk.
Warning signs of human trafficking can include a history of multiple runaways or homelessness, frequent absences from school, unexplained changes in lifestyle such as excessive amounts of cash or items that a youth cannot reasonably afford, a controlling relationship with an older partner or adult, signs of physical abuse, or a lack of documentation.
Safe Harbour, Putnam County’s Anti-Human Trafficking program, has a mobile app, Safe Harbour Putnam County. The free app is available at the App Store for iOS/iPhone/iPad and Google Play Store for Android devices.
The Safe Harbour App is designed for easy use and includes:
- In-depth definitions of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children,
- Indicators to assess a youth’s risk of trafficking,
- Tips on how to help if a youth is a victim of trafficking, and
- Resources and programs in the county that are available to trafficked youth and those at risk of trafficking
Safe Harbour, a program of the Putnam County Department of Social Services, is a strength-based program that provides supports and services to trafficked youth and those at risk of being trafficked.