Posted by Sue Jones on Aug 16, 2019
Pictured (l to r):  President Cheri Krull, Police Chief Harry Snellings, and Dr. Lillian Ney
Lillian Ney pinch hit for Leanna Luka-Conley, Deputy Commissioner of Child and Family Services and Jessica McKeever of Safe Harbor, Chautauqua County, neither of whom could make the program scheduled for today. Jessica has been at Safe Harbor for 3 years developing policies and procedures to address human trafficking and exploitation of our youth and has now stepped away from that role and taken a place at Conduit Ministries. She and others have found a way to bridge the work at Safe Harbor and the church and it is called “Brave”.  Instead today, Dr. Lillian Ney and Police Chief Harry Snellings took to the podium to deal with the topic of Commercial Sexual exploitation of Children in our city and county.
This term refers to a range of crimes and activities involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the financial benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value (including monetary and non-monetary benefits) given or received by any person.
Examples include:                             
-child sex trafficking/the prostitution of children;
-child sex tourism involving commercial sexual activity;
-the commercial production of child pornography; and
-the online transmission of live video of a child engaged in sexual activity in exchange for anything of value.
This also includes situations where a child, whether or not at the direction of any other person, engages in sexual activity in exchange for anything of value, which includes non-monetary things such as food, shelter, drugs, or protection from any person.
94% of children identified as at-risk for exploitation or as confirmed victims of trafficking/CSEC in NYS have experienced previous abuse and have had interaction with the child welfare system.
Teens are most vulnerable included in the following groups: LGBTQ+ youth; runaway/homeless youth; those in the juvenile justice system; and those in foster care and group homes.
In 2017, there were 25 identified cases, 3 confirmed, 13 high risk, 19 medium risk; 14.7 average age; 24% males.
In 2018, there were 30 identified cases, 5 confirmed, 20 high risk, 5 medium risk; 14.1 average age; 20% males.
In 2019, quarter 1, there have been 12 identified cases, 2 confirmed; 10 high risk; 13.5 average age; 8% males.
The local police force works with many other agencies including the FBI whenever necessary to aid with crossed jurisdictions and cell phone investigations. Lew Meckley, a member of the Board of Directors of the Child Advocacy Program, and a cooperating agency, attended the meeting today.
Chief Snellings answered many questions about trafficking and also regarding heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana etc. and their role in trafficking.
The Safe Harbor Law was created to protect sexually exploited/trafficked children from being charged with juvenile delinquent offenses. The law defines children involved in these crimes as victims, not perpetrators. Safe Harbor laws also provide services to children who have been sexually exploited.