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SAFE HORIZON PARTNERS WITH NEW YORK CITY MAYOR’S OFFICE SURVIVORS OF HUMAN EXPLOITATION WORKING GROUP AND THE NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION TO PROVIDE ENHANCED INFORMATION ON IDENTIFYING AND HELPING HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

September 25, 2012 - Safe Horizon announced today a partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office Survivors of Human Exploitation Working Group and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) to provide an introductory guide to health care providers on how one can identify possible victims of trafficking and appropriately respond to the victims they may encounter.

Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victim assistance organization, prepared the guide, “Recognizing Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Health Care Providers,” in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office Working Group, empanelled by Deputy Mayor Robles-Román and led by Deputy Counsel Norma Abbene, the citywide director of anti-human trafficking efforts. The guide will be made available on the Mayor’s Office anti-trafficking website and on Safe Horizon’s website as a free, downloadable document that any medical professional can access beginning today.

Developed with the health professional in mind, the purpose of the training material is to highlight several trafficking indicators in which medical professionals can identify and respond to in their day-to-day practices while seeing patients. Intended to be used as an introduction for medical professionals, it is recommended that the materials are used with an anti-trafficking service provider, like Safe Horizon, to facilitate trainings that address the specialized needs of their staff.

“Traffickers thrive on the fact that this is a crisis that largely remains hidden from the public eye,” said Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Román. “The best way we can fight this growing threat to human rights is for those who are in positions to work with potential victims—medical clinics, churches, employers—to learn how to recognize the signs and know how to help them. We are grateful for the work being done on behalf of victims of crime and abuse at Safe Horizon and for the partnership with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation to get the information into the hands of medical professionals.”

“Developing a public health response to this issue is a critical step to ensure that survivors are identified and receive proper care and support in New York City,” said Alan D. Aviles, President and Chief Executive Officer at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). “Hospitals and emergency rooms are among the few places that human trafficking victims may be allowed to go, so it is crucial to have frontline medical professionals trained to understand and identify the signs of abuse. Through this new initiative, we will distribute the training material this month to our 11 hospital emergency department teams throughout New York City.”

Liz Roberts, Chief Program Officer at Safe Horizon said, “We are grateful to the Mayor’s Office Survivors of Human Exploitation Working Group for all it has done to build awareness regarding the issue of human trafficking in New York City. We hope that the visibility of the Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking website will encourage people to learn more about modern-day slavery and find out how they can help victims to escape and heal.”

Established in 2001, Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program has grown into the largest direct service provider to human trafficking victims on the East Coast. Through the Anti-Trafficking Program, Safe Horizon assists women, men, and children who have experienced labor and sex trafficking. Since its founding, the Anti-Trafficking Program has helped more than 500 people within and outside the New York metropolitan area from more than 60 countries.

About Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon is one of the largest victims’ services agencies in the United States, with more than 50 locations touching the lives of 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse throughout New York City each year. Since 1978, Safe Horizon has provided victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth and families of homicide victims, with a wide range of comprehensive support.  Our programs also partner with governmental and other community agencies so we can offer additional assistance, including finding resources for those living outside New York City.

About the Mayor’s Office Survivors of Human Exploitation Working Group 
The Mayor’s Office Survivors of Human Trafficking Working Group consists of a multidisciplinary team of experts in legal policy and advocacy, medicine clinical psychology, business, healthcare and children’s services.  The Working Group’s mission is to raise awareness around human trafficking and establish holistic environments for provision of survivors’ services. By exposing this crime, New Yorkers can take part in the fight against human trafficking and encourage victims to come forward and seek help. Working Group medical doctors and psychologists who advised Safe Horizon on the training tool include, Loren Wissner Greene, MD, Allen Keller, MD, Michael Korzinski, PhD, Peggy McHugh, MD and Hawthorne Smith, PhD.

Contact:

DKC Public Relations
Brian Moriarty/Izzy Forman/Gabriela Ubago
Phone: 212.685.4300

Evelyn Erskine, New York City Mayor’s Office
Phone:
 212.788.2958

Ana Marengo, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Phone: 212.788.3386; Email:
 Ana.Marengo@nychhc.org