More than 150 youth-serving professionals will convene Thursday at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls to address the issue of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The keynote speaker will be Jen Spry, R.N., a forensic nurse examiner who was trafficked as a child and now specializes in educating medical professionals, social workers, law enforcement officers and others who work with children. Spry will share her personal story and discuss skills and strategies for fostering the trust of vulnerable victims in order to provide medical care, safety and restoration.
The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is sponsored by the Niagara County Safe Harbour Project at the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.
Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy will open the program. Also speaking will be Nora Cronin, J.D., assistant director for the state Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance; and Tara Hughes, LCSW-R, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Karen Wisniewski from the Western District of New York Trafficking Task Force.
The Niagara County Safe Harbour Project is a partnership of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the Niagara County Department of Social Services, funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The program provides assessment, case management, support services and group intervention, as well as training and technical assistance to agencies and other organizations. In the past year, 58 youths have been referred to the program due to concerns regarding human trafficking.
For more information, visit cacofniagara.org or call 285-0045.