What is Safe Harbour?
Safe Harbour is a systems-level, trauma-informed approach to the prevention and identification of, and service provision to survivors of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and child trafficking. This collaborative program leverages existing local resources to create a more effective and efficient coordinated response to youth who have been identified as survivors and those considered at-risk. The Safe Harbour Coordinator is responsible for streamlining Chautauqua County’s Safe Harbour policies and procedures, educating allied professionals and community members to recognize the signs, and raising awareness about child trafficking and CSEC.
What is the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC)?
CSEC refers to a range of crimes and activities involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the financial benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value (including monetary and non-monetary benefits) given or received by any person.
What is Child sex trafficking?
Child sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age (Federal Law).
Since 2017, Chautauqua County Safe Harbour has identified:
- 11 youth who met the federal definition of Child Sex Trafficking
- 39 high risk youth
- 8 medium risk youth
- 5 youth with risk levels unknown
- Over 1000 youth-serving professionals have been trained to identify and respond to CSEC and child sex trafficking
Child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation can affect all children regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, and socioeconomic status. However, youth involved in the Child Welfare System are more likely to be trafficked or exploited. Some red flags to watch out for include:
- Chronic runaway/truant/homeless youth
- Have goods or services they cannot afford
- Excessive amount of cash
- Carries multiple hotel keys
- Signs of branding (tattoos, jewelry)
- Restricted and/or scripted communication
- Physical injuries or signs of abuse
- Multiple STIs or pregnancies
- Lying about age/false identification and/or inconsistencies
- Appear scared or nervous, may not make eye contact
- Lack of knowledge about where they are and why
- Signs of psychological trauma and abuse; anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, panic attacks, or lack of emotion (flat affect)
- Typically has someone with them at all times, this person may seem controlling
If a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, call 911. If it is suspected that a child is being trafficked and or commercially sexually exploited contact 911, contact the Statewide Central Registry of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, and contact Kayleah Feser, Safe Harbour Coordinator. For more information, to make a referral, or to schedule a training for your organization contact Kayleah Feser, Safe Harbour Coordinator at (716) 268-1464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.