Kingston, NY - Ulster County Executive Mike Hein invites residents to attend a presentation sponsored by the Ulster County Safe Harbour Program “Internet Safety: Keeping Youth Safe in Cyberspace,” featuring Thomas Grimes, a retired NYPD detective and founder of “NY Finest Speakers, LLC” on December 1, 2016, from 6:00-8:30pm at SUNY Ulster’s Quimby Theater, 491 Cottekill Road, Stone Ridge, New York. Ulster County’s Safe Harbour Program raises awareness and educates the community about the commercial exploitation of children and youth trafficking. Traffickers utilize social media sites such as Facebook to groom and lure youth into trafficking situations via tactics such as fraud (promises of a romantic relationships or lucrative employment offers) and coercion (threats to the life of the survivor and their family). This informational presentation is available for anyone interested in protecting youth from online predators.
Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive
“Ulster County’s Safe Harbour Program strives to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society: victims of abuse, children, and runaways,” said County Executive Mike Hein. “In an age where our youth spend a considerable amount of time online, it is important to be educated on the potential dangers that coincide with the use of technology in order to ensure that our youth remain safe. I appreciate the important work being done by our Social Services Department and the Safe Harbour Program as they raise awareness, educate, and train those in the community regarding this serious issue and I invite our residents to attend this informative presentation.”
Michael Iapoce, Ulster County Commissioner of Social Services
“While the program currently provides comprehensive services to survivors, it’s imperative that we take a preventive rather than a reactionary approach to this issue,” says Michael Iapoce, Commissioner of DSS. “Moving forward, we are currently developing an outreach program that will engage youth in conversations about trafficking and empower them with prevention education. I appreciate County Executive Hein’s continued support of the Safe Harbour Program.”
In January of 2017, the Ulster County Safe Harbour Program will be heading into its third year of a grant funded by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. Having successfully established a presence in Ulster County under the guidance of OCFS, they are beginning to coordinate a regional approach to combat the commercial exploitation of children and youth trafficking. Due to the transient nature of the crime, as well as it serving as an opportunity to share strategies and resources, Ulster County will collaborate with five other Safe Harbour counties in the Mid-Hudson Valley including Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Westchester, and Rockland County.
In addition, the Ulster County Safe Harbour Program launched their second awareness campaign “Youth Should Not be Exploited. Safe Harbour is Here to Help” on September 5, 2016, which included the display of five billboards with the Family of Woodstock’s phone, text and chat hotlines. The billboards are on display through the end of the year. The Safe Harbour Program continues to provide ongoing trainings to service providers, health professionals, schools, and law enforcement. Quarterly presentations have attracted professionals from various fields throughout the County with speakers from Homeland Security and The Center for Court Innovation’s Gender Justice Team in New York City. Worker Justice of New York is set to facilitate a presentation about labor trafficking in January of 2017.
For more information about upcoming Safe Harbour trainings and events, please contact Jackie Arsenuk, Safe Harbour Coordinator at 845-340-3927 or Ulster.SafeHarbour[at]gmail[dot]com.