Slavery in Suburbia: Students take action after report

Posted: Updated:

A group of girls in Westchester County, inspired by what they saw students accomplish after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have launched a campaign to fight human trafficking in response to News 12's eight-month "Slavery in Suburbia" investigation.

The story of Melanie, who was kidnapped, raped and forced into a life of sexual slavery at age 12, is having an impact across the Hudson Valley, especially on the 70-member GEMS after-school program at the YWCA Central Westchester.

The girls were horrified by News 12's recent "Slavery in Suburbia" series that featured a young sex trafficking victim who was kidnapped in the sixth grade and repeatedly raped at hotels across Westchester.

SLAVERY IN SUBURBIA SERIES: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The GEMS program aims to empower young minority women from economically disadvantaged areas to find their voice. Some of the girls say having knowledge of trafficking in the county has them refusing to stay silent. They have secured a grant from the Westchester Children's Association to stage a full-blown campaign, complete with petitions, rallies and hashtags.

The ultimate goal is to convince New York senators to pass a series of anti-trafficking bills created by Scarsdale Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."