BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County officials highlighted some of their ongoing efforts to end human trafficking to coincide with January being human trafficking awareness month.

The county recently formed a partnership known as HTU to help victims and investigate the suspects involved.

There's also a partnership with the state called "Safe Harbor," which just received one of the first grants for this type of work.

"In 2018, there were 115 youth that were connected with human trafficing, and 67 percent of those were going through our child welfare system right here in Eire County," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. "And when we talk about youth, we're talking about, generally, the ages of 15 to 20."

Poloncarz says he hopes these county programs help eliminate the need to hold press conferences like the one today to even discuss the issue.