FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND DEPUTY MAYOR ROBLES-ROMAN LAUNCH NEW PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING
“Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking” Campaign Encourages New Yorkers To “See It. Know It. Report It.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Carol A. Robles-Roman and Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt today launched a new public-education campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking and encourage New Yorkers to report potential trafficking situations. The multi-media campaign called “Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking,” features silhouettes of everyday people who may be affected by trafficking. Human trafficking is a horrible crime that involves the recruiting, transporting, selling, or buying of people for the purpose of various forms of exploitation. These victims are often controlled through force, fraud, or coercion. The print advertisements in English and Spanish, created by Grey New York, in partnership with the Somaly Mam Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, will appear on bus shelters in the five boroughs from May 20 – June 13. As part of the new campaign, the City’s new anti-trafficking website, which can be found on www.nyc.gov, was also launched to provide more information about the plight of human trafficking.
“We have made New York the safest big city in the nation by developing innovative new policies and programs and targeting our resources where they are needed most,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This new public education campaign will play a critical role in raising awareness of the impact of this horrible crime, encouraging New Yorkers to report it and, most importantly, letting victims know that help is available. Working together, let’s call an end to human trafficking.”
“Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world today,” said Deputy Mayor Robles-Roman. “However, most people don’t know what it is or how to recognize this form of modern day slavery. With this public education campaign, New York City is teaming up with public and private partners to inform New Yorkers about how to recognize and report human trafficking.”
“When it comes to counter-terrorism, New Yorkers have learned the importance of this simple sentence: ‘if you see something -- say something,’” said Chief Advisor John Feinblatt. “But we need to apply that same message to crimes that take place in the shadows like human trafficking. That’s why this public awareness campaign is so important.”
A person is a victim of human trafficking when they are forced, tricked, or coerced into performing commercial sex acts or working in exploitative jobs. A victim of human trafficking can be from any foreign country or within the United States, and any age, sex, or ethnicity. Human trafficking is a global problem and as a major transportation hub, there is potential for both foreign born and domestic victims of human trafficking to pass through New York City. Human trafficking often remains hidden from public view, allowing traffickers to evade detection by law enforcement. The “Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking” community awareness campaign helps bring human trafficking out of the shadows to raise awareness among New Yorkers about this heinous form of exploitation. By exposing this crime, New Yorkers can take part in the fight against human trafficking and encourage victims to come forward and seek help. The public education campaign encourages New Yorkers to “See it. Know it. Report it.”
“Human Trafficking is happening here, but we don’t know it because we don’t see it,” said Alice Ericsson, Executive Creative Director of Grey New York. “If we want New Yorkers to see the problem, we have to put it in plain view. And, in plain language. The silhouettes will tell the stories of human trafficking that can happen right here in our own town.”
“The Somaly Mam Foundation is pleased to be partnering with the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York on this critical human trafficking campaign,” said Bill Livermore, Executive Director of the Somaly Mam Foundation and member of the NYC Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. “Many people don’t realize that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that is victimizing men, women and children nationwide. This crime can exist next door or in cities and towns across the country, but until you know what to look for or which questions to ask, human trafficking victims can blend right in. This campaign builds critical awareness about the issue so that the public can recognize the signs of trafficking and victims can find help. Human trafficking tears apart millions of lives every year and we need the help of an informed public to end this crime – public education is part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate human trafficking that I hope other cities will adopt.”
The new ad campaign was developed with input from community providers serving victims of trafficking. The website, which can be found at www.nyc.gov/humantrafficking, provides information about the signs of human trafficking, how to report it and what New Yorkers can do to get help. The City’s Family Justice Centers, administered by the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence in partnership with borough district attorneys offices, has specially trained staff who can identify victims, recognize signs of trafficking and provide appropriate services to victims. The centers, located in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, allow domestic violence victims to meet with a prosecutor, speak with a trained counselor, and apply for housing and financial assistance in one location. Through the efforts of each center and its legal services, providers have identified victims of human trafficking and connected them to services.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will also help to disseminate information and materials to vulnerable communities in the city, and bring broader awareness about human trafficking and where to go for help. Outreach to community and faith- based organizations serving immigrants as well as ethnic media will reinforce these efforts.
Mayor Bloomberg established the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force in 2006 to combat the growing problem of foreign and domestic human trafficking and to coordinate the efforts of the different entities that combat human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. The task force brings together experts from all disciplines – state and federal law enforcement, city and state government agencies, service providers, advocacy groups, and other community-based organizations – to meet around one table to discuss the challenges inherent in working to combat human trafficking. The efforts are overseen by the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinator and Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning, John Feinblatt. In cooperation with the task force, the Mayor’s Office has: partnered with enforcement entities to provide services to trafficking victims, including employees of massage parlors; conducted multiple citywide multidisciplinary training sessions; helped pass the groundbreaking New York State Anti-Trafficking law passed in 2007; created a resource directory so service providers, counselors, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and victims all know the services that are available and how they can be accessed; awarded a contract to a service provider to house and counsel trafficking victims; and worked with the Administration for Children’s Services and the Office of Children and Family Services to establish placement facilities for children who are sexually exploited.
If you are a victim of human trafficking or would like to report a tip regarding suspected human trafficking, call 911. If you would like more information about human trafficking or would like to learn about how you can help, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/humantrafficking.
About the Somaly Mam Foundation:
The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit charity committed to ending modern day slavery in North America and around the world. Founded by sexual slavery survivor Somaly Mam, the foundation works to eradicate human trafficking, liberate its victims, and empower survivors so they can create and sustain lives of dignity. The foundation supports survivor rescue, shelter and rehabilitation programs globally with a special focus on Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and girls, some as young as five, is a widespread practice. The Somaly Mam Foundation also runs awareness and advocacy campaigns in North American and around the world that shed light on the crime of human trafficking and focus on getting the public and governments involved in the fight to abolish modern day slavery.
About Grey New York:
Grey New York is the advertising network of Grey Group. Grey Group ranks among the largest global communications companies. Its parent company is WPP. Grey “Famously Effective Since 1917” serves a blue-chip client roster of many of the world’s best known companies: Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo, Darden Restaurants, Pfizer, Canon, 3M, Eli Lilly, E*TRADE, NFL, Boehringer Ingelheim J.M. Smucker and T.J. Maxx. FAST COMPANY named Grey to “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” list in 2010.
Andrew Brent/ Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Download the Anti-Human Trafficking ad in English
Download the Anti-Human Trafficking ad in Spanish