YWCA York to hold human trafficking seminar for law enforcement

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Human trafficking is an insidious crime, and it's happening here in York County.

 “In the last five, six years, we’ve seen more cases,” Abigail Runk, a juvenile probation officer, said in a recent news release from York County.

Knowledge is one of the keys to fighting back, and the York YWCA has been committed to helping people and organizations recognize the signs of human trafficking.

 York YWCA is partnering with York County Probation for a seminar for law enforcement personnel on human trafficking on March 31.

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York County Commissioner Doug Hoke pours red sand into sidewalk cracks as part of an art installation of the Red Sand Project at YWCA York in York City, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. The goal of the installation is to raise community awareness about human trafficking, while the red sand represents those who fall through the cracks. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The seminar is designed to help law enforcement members understand topics such as how to identify human trafficking, who is at risk and who the traffickers are, and agencies that provide services in response to human trafficking.

“Unless it’s pointed out to you in some cases, you don’t see it,” Runk said.

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YWCA human trafficking advocacy coordinator Crystal Perry said a lack of awareness can lead to charging victims with crimes including prostitution, loitering, disorderly conduct and theft.

“A lot of officers I’ve talked to are at the ‘It happens here?’ phase,” Perry said in the release.

More:Jury convicts 2 human traffickers first ID'd by York County police

The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 31, at the York County Judicial Center, 45 N. George St., York. 

Any church group, neighborhood association or other civilian organization that is interested in a presentation about human trafficking is encouraged to contact Perry at cperry@ywcayork.org.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.