- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York officials are calling attention to the trafficking of people for forced labor or sex and installing posters at 27 Thruway service plazas to promote a national hotline for reporting cases.

The toll-free call center at 1-888-373-7888 is operated by Polaris, a nonprofit that says it’s operating around the clock and can provide help in more than 200 languages.

Polaris also says it launched a texting shortcode - BeFree or 233733 - where its call specialists can help victims plan escapes or connect to services.

It also takes tips and says all reports are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.

State officials say the crime affects more than 1,000 children in New York annually, while an estimated 18,000 people are brought into the U.S. yearly by traffickers.

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