Leaders of a local campaign that targets human trafficking and other forms of exploitation believe their effort will grow stronger as they open a new office on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
People Against Trafficking Humans, or P.A.T.H., held an open house Friday afternoon at its new center at 1083 Delaware Ave. near West Ferry. The office has been relocated from a site on Masten Avenue. Executive Director Julie Palmer told WBFO the new location will be more accessible to clients who rely on the not-for-profit group for a variety of services.
“We provide therapeutic services, including individual counseling and support groups,” she said “We have creative arts therapy. We offer music therapy, arts therapy, Zumba and Dance. We teach life-skill training through cooking and nutrition.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. While many people might view the problem as more relevant in third world countries, Palmer said human exploitation is also an issue in the U.S.
“how it looks in Western New York is a little bit different,” she said. “It can be things [like] women feeling tied to prostitution, not being able to get out of that lifestyle -- which is considered sex trafficking.”
Last October, law enforcers in the region introduced a series of public service announcements that red-flagged the problem. Most Western New York residents aren’t aware that human trafficking goes on in their own cities and towns because, often, it hides in plain sight.
If someone is in immediate danger, advocates urge the individual to call the toll free National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
WBFO's Brandon Gonzalez contributed to this report.