BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty and Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard joined other county leaders Tuesday to unveil two new public service announcements.
They ads aim to reach victims of trafficking, and were produced with the help of a $20,000 grant from the federal government.
One of the ads focuses on the commercial sex trade, and the other talks about traffickers coercing victims into slave labor.
Last year in our area there were 110 reported incidents and 149 victims of human trafficking which eventually led to arrests and convictions.
Flaherty said it’s labor trafficking that poses more of a challenge for law enforcement, because unlike prostitution, it’s not easily spotted.
“Labor trafficking involves victims who are engaged in activities which are not per se illegal. And we see this around the country in nail salons, hotels, farms. But it’s just not obvious to an outsider that the workers are not there of their own free will,” Flaherty said during a news conference Tuesday.
The ads will start off on the Internet and eventually be broadcasted throughout the region.
CrimeStoppers has teamed up with the county and the District Attorney’s office to use its tip line for complaints.
If you’re a victim of human trafficking or know someone who needs help, call 716-867-6161.