Philadelphia’s Homeland Security held a press conference on January 18, 2017 to publicly announce the formation of the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force was formed in 2016 for the purpose of combating human trafficking in Philadelphia by using a collaborative approach among federal and local law enforcement agencies and multiple social service organizations. The lead partnership agencies include: The Salvation Army’s New Day to Stop Trafficking program, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office- Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigation. The Salvation Army coordinates victim services with the tremendous expertise of partner social service organizations, including: Friends of Farmworkers, Nationalities Service Center, Covenant House, Dawn’s Place, Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, and Villanova C-S-E Institute.
Watch News Coverage of the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Press Conference . . . CLICK HERE.
The Salvation Army has a long history of addressing human need worldwide; whether that is in the form of providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or dignity, respect and support for victims of human trafficking, the organization is on the front line each and every day helping to enrich, improve and transform lives of people in the greatest of need. Here in Greater Philadelphia, The Salvation Army’s New Day to Stop Trafficking program has been helping victims of human trafficking by taking into account the trauma that a victim endures, and providing ongoing social services for victims of trafficking city wide, as well as statewide advocacy work for human trafficking policy reform.
“Whether in the City of Philadelphia, the mainline suburbs or towns in rural Pennsylvania, the sad truth is that this wretched crime of human labor and sex trafficking – a form of modern day slavery – exists in our neighborhoods throughout our region,” said Lt. Colonel Stephen Banfield, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. He added; “It lurks in the shadows, often hidden from the headlines, but nevertheless, it affects thousands of innocent men, women and children- all traumatized victims.”
Watch the video about the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking and New Day Drop-In Center . . . CLICK HERE.
In nine areas across the United States, The Salvation Army participates in similar anti-human trafficking task forces that have been collaborating and paving the way to a new approach in dealing with this long standing, frightening dilemma. The formation of this task force is a significant step forward for Philadelphia and our region in the fight against human labor and sex trafficking. Not only will it provide victims with the help they need on their path to recovery, but it also strives to prosecute offenders as well as help to build awareness and prevention of this horrifying and ever-growing issue that is plaguing our cities and suburbs.
The task force is made possible through a three year, 1.3 million dollar grant from The Department of Justice, 600,000 of which is going to The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia and sub recipient partners for their role in providing comprehensive victim services.
Located within the Special Victims Unit at the Philadelphia Police Department, law enforcement and social services are now able to work together with a trauma-centered approach to gain a better understanding of the factors that may have caused men, women and minors to be forced into sex or labor trafficking. “Together, we will help them (victims of human trafficking) reclaim their lives,” said Lt. Colonel Banfield, “and we will strive to put a stop to this heinous crime once and for all, so it can never harm another innocent soul ever again.”