LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A new task force is taking shape in Lancaster County is tackling human trafficking head on.
“Victims of trafficking and victims of sexual assault and violence are a silenced population and we see this crime as happening here in our county whether we recognize it or believe it,” said Many Billman, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center at the YWCA Lancaster.
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It’s a collaboration between the district attorney’s office, police, and local non-profits like the YWCA, who see and hear the stories of survivors every day.
“These individuals may believe they were in a relationship with a perpetrator or offender, they may have been threatened, coerced or blamed and harmed in ways that made them feel like they were compliant but even though they didn’t have choice in the matter,” Billman said.
Billman says human trafficking can take many forms and says of many victims have nowhere to turn.
“They feel hopeless. They feel embarrassed. They feel alone. They feel ashamed. They feel confused,” Billman said.
But their role is to be that lifeline
“We step alongside them meet them where they are at and support them with what their basic needs, housing, food, comfort items, things that have been taken,” she said.
Now, with powerful backup, everyone hopes their work will one day make human trafficking a thing of the past.