Hoovler launches anti-trafficking campaign

Orange County DA Hoovler. File photo.

GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, on Wednesday, announced the launch of the District Attorney’s Anti-Trafficking Campaign, an initiative that is designed to inform the public about human trafficking. The announcement came at a press conference held at the Orange County Government Center in Goshen.

Hoovler was joined at the press conference by Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Executive Director of “Fearless!,” formerly known as “Safe Homes of Orange County,” an agency that assists victims of intimate partner violence and that coordinates the Orange County Safe Harbor Task Force, a collaboration of agencies working to address human trafficking offenses committed against youth.

Touting Hoovler’s proposal, his spokesperson said “Human trafficking is a worldwide problem. Victims are coerced into providing sexual services or labor, all for the benefit of the trafficker. Traffickers may directly threaten victims with harm, humiliation, imprisonment, or deportation if they refuse to be trafficked; may isolate victims from friends, loved ones, and the public; may take control of the victims’ finances; and may confiscate victims’ passports or other identifying documents. Men, women, and children can all be victims of human trafficking. In 2018, nearly 500 cases of human trafficking were reported in New York State alone.”

Hoovler’s Anti-Trafficking Campaign is designed to educate the public about human trafficking so that law enforcement can rescue victims of trafficking and can stop and punish offenders. The campaign includes an eight-page brochure, a palm card, and a poster, designed to illustrate the scope of the human-trafficking problem. The materials point out the signs of human trafficking and dispel many myths about trafficking. The materials will be distributed to, among other places, area hotels, where traffickers might house their victims, and where clerks and others might recognize possible human-trafficking situations.

“Human trafficking occurs every day in plain sight,” said Hoovler, “but, unfortunately, many people don’t recognize its signs. The recent COVID-19 outbreak, as with many other criminal behaviors, has driven the trafficking problem further underground, but it has always been there. The District Attorney’s Anti-Trafficking Campaign is designed to inform the public about human trafficking so that Orange County residents have the tools to recognize trafficking when they see it, can report it, and can possibly save trafficking victims from the traumatic nightmare that they’ve been forced into.”

For further information about the District Attorney’s Anti-Trafficking Campaign, or to obtain copies of the Campaign’s written materials, please contact Robert Conflitti, Counsel to the District Attorney, at (845) 291-2050 or by email to DACommunityAffairs@ orangecountygov.com.

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