Pound Ridge Officials Lead Anti-Trafficking Training

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Pound Ridge Police Chief Dave Ryan and Town Board member Ali Boak are members of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force.
Pound Ridge Police Chief Dave Ryan and Town Board member Ali Boak are members of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y – Founders of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force, led by Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan and Town Board member Ali Boak, came together last week for an educational seminar for lawyers and other members of the legal profession.

The seminar, which focused on human trafficking, was attended by members of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the Pace Law School Criminal Justice Center and the Pace Law School Continuing Legal Education Program.

“Training, educating and awareness-raising is a critical part of the task force work,” said Boak, special adviser to the task force and one of its founders. “Human trafficking isn’t new to Westchester County; law enforcement just didn’t know what to look for. That is changing.”

Audrey Stone, second deputy district attorney and chief of Special Prosecutions Division for the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said that it's important for the legal community of Westchester to learn the indicators of human trafficking.

“This is an issue that happens all over the world, including right here in our own backyard in Westchester County,” she said.

Lauren Pesso, director of the Human Trafficking Program for My Sisters’ Place, a Westchester based not-for-profit offering shelter and services to victims of domestic violence and trafficking, concurred, noting that since 2009 her organization has been referred over 120 cases of human trafficking and continues to see an average of about one case per week.

“Human trafficking is an important issue and we are fortunate to have this task force and its expertise in our county,” said County Legislator Peter Harckham (D – Bedford). “The [County] Board helped fund training for key responders around the county in March 2011.”

Ryan said the Task Force will step up its police training efforts later this year.

“The Task Force is in the midst of planning some special training for law enforcement this spring focusing on investigative techniques in human trafficking cases,” he said.

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I am curious to know Mrs Boak's opinion on Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and the allegations against him. He is accused of having sex with under aged prostitutes in the Domenican Republic. ( In addition to numerous claims of accepting inappropriate gifts). If there is even a slim chance that the underage sex claims are valid, they must be investigated, and if true he should be severely punished. Being that he is a public figure and a politician, do you support a full investigation of these claims? If you had the power to do so, how would you pursue the truth of this haynais claim?

The last such case in Pound Ridge was one and half years ago when Pound Ridge resident Joseph Yannai was found guilty of several felony counts of sex trafficking in federal court (June 2011)... that included coercion and enticement under the Mann Act, forced labor, unlawful employment of aliens for immoral purposes and more.
Perhaps my article was unclear, and for that I apologize, but the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force was not created to deal with human trafficking in just Pound Ridge alone. It is an agency, compromised of many law enforcement groups, that covers all of Westchester County. My Sister's Place reports that they've referred over 120 cases of trafficking in the past three years and continues to an average of one case a week. This isn't just a "big city" problem.
The Task Force is being spearheaded by two prominent Pound Ridge denizens - Police Chief David Ryan, who takes the subject VERY seriously, and Councilwoman Alison Boak, who is considered a national authority on the subject. Their job is to facilitate training and awareness among first responders, from cops, to EMTs, to firefighters and such.

That is awful. I had never heard of such issues here in Pound Ridge. Can someone share the details of when, and what the case was. I can't imagine it is an epidemic here like in some foreign countries, border areas, and big cities. If it is, please let us know. Please share details so we can understand the likelyhood and severity of this. How many cases in past 3 years?

Last year

When was the last documented human trafficking incident in Pound Ridge?