SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Safe Inc. of Schenectady, which provides shelter, counseling, and supportive services to homeless youth who are sometimes sexually abused or trafficked, will be hosting a virtual forum on Facebook Live Thursday, May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. titled,
“When the Sender Is A Pretender.”
Organizers say the purpose of the forum is to educate the community, educators, local businesses, and government leaders about the existence of sex trafficking and the vulnerability of youth in the community.
“It is well-known that our youth are engaged in online activity, but they don’t always know the real identity of every ‘message-sender’ and they could be communicating with dangerous pretenders,” said Scott Brady, Executive Director of Safe Inc. of Schenectady. “This virtual event will raise awareness and provide eye opening information about sex trafficking and online predators as well as available resources to help protect our at-home and homeless youth.”
The organization says as more youth have been confined inside due to COVID -19, sexual predators have been increasingly lurking and recruiting youth through social media channels like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, video games, etc.
“These hidden online activities present a real danger to our youth, and Safe Inc. of Schenectady is offering this forum to help combat this hidden danger,” said Nettie Crossman, Safe Inc. Board President.
In order to raise awareness about this danger, three dynamic speakers will reportedly share timely and important information on how to protect vulnerable youth.
- Salka Valerio, a survivor of sex trafficking, will share her personal story and how homelessness impacted her journey.
- Melanie Puorto Conte, Schenectady County Coordinator of Safe Harbour, will provide an overview of sex trafficking of youth in our community.
- Kyla Guru, 18-year-old founder of Bits N’ Bytes and an intern with the Center for Internet Security, will provide cyber security information to help protect our youth online.
The organization says Jermaine Wells, local media personality, artist, and production specialist, will host the forum. The event is free, and donations are encouraged. All proceeds will support the work of Safe, Inc. of Schenectady.
For more information or to register for the event, visit: When the Sender Is A Pretender | Safe Inc. of Schenectady or call (518) 374-0166.