State Senator Patty Ritchie and State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk announced Tuesday they have proposed legislation aimed at combating the human trafficking epidemic that is plaguing New York State and our entire country. It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year, with nearly 500 cases reported in New York State in 2018 alone.
The legislation is designed to curb human trafficking by adding a specialized training for nursing students seeking state certification. The training would help students learn and recognize the warning signs of human trafficking, while also ensuring they understand the proper protocol for supporting victims under their care.
“Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of human trafficking are not always able to be easily identified, even by the most experienced of medical professionals,” Senator Patty Ritchie said.
“By ensuring nursing students—who, when on the job, will often be the first medical provider a victim sees—have this specialized training, we are helping them understand the signs, better recognize the symptoms and facilitate the proper treatment of victims.”
“Human Trafficking is without a doubt one of the most despicable crimes of our generation,” said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk. “Giving nursing students the tools needed to properly identify the signs of human trafficking while providing care for victims will be critical in the battle against this horrendous offense. I am proud to stand alongside Senator Ritchie to take a stand and fight to help put an end this epidemic.”
“Human Trafficking is a horrific crime and may exist in your own community”, said Ilene J. Burke, Executive Director of Renewal House. “It is on all of us to be aware of the signs of human trafficking and do everything we can to help prevent it. It is also important to ensure survivors of human trafficking understand that they have options, they are not alone, and that there are resources available to help. I’d like to thank Assemblyman Walczyk and Senator Ritchie for sponsoring this measure to help fight against this crime, and help victims feel safe enough to return home.”
“We as a society have to step up and sometimes to be the voice for those without the ability to speak up and defend themselves,” said Jill Parker, Executive Director of the Victim’s Assistance Center of Jefferson County. I applaud both Assemblyman Walczyk and Senator Ritchie for their continued support of our community and shinning a light to help combat the horrific crime of human trafficking.”
In addition to the legislation, Walczyk and Ritchie have also lunched an online petition to support this legislation. Those interested in showing their support for the bill can sign the petition by clicking here or by visiting the following website: https://forms.gle/KN8nwdktkU6TMYDf7.
New York State Assembly members Will Barclay, Ken Blankenbush and Robert Smullen have offered their support of the bill by agreeing to cosponsor it in the Assembly.