News Flash

City of NSB News

Posted on: January 12, 2022

Proclamations on human trafficking, Arbor Day read at Jan. 11 City Commission meeting

From left, Police Chief Mike Coffin, Volusia Rape Crisis Center Victim Advocate Rachael Becker, Delo

Mayor Russ Owen kicked off the City Commission's first regular meeting of 2022 by declaring January to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Jan. 21 to be Arbor Day in the City of New Smyrna Beach.

"You know, there's a lot of these proclamations that I do and I say this, I think, with every one of them, that I hope one day we don't have to do these anymore. I hope someday we solve these problems, but until then we do things like this," said Owen before reading the human trafficking proclamation. "We all know that the very act of reading this doesn't do anything here tonight, but hopefully the awareness of the issue, the involvement and engagement of the community on the issue, that's what it's meant to be about. Raising the visibility of these issues and letting the bad guys know we're on this and letting those that may be victims or dealing with some of these issues know that we're here for them as well."

Human trafficking, also referred to as "modern slavery," is a $32 billion per year global criminal enterprise involving the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for forced labor or sexual servitude through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

The New Smyrna Beach Police Department Victim Advocate Program provides assistance and support to victims of crime and unforeseen emergencies and acts as a liaison between citizens, law enforcement, the legal system, and other government and social agencies.

Services offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week include:

  • Referral to social service agencies for assistance with emergency needs such as clothing, food, shelter, and transportation
  • Assistance filling out paperwork, referrals for injunctions, victim impact statements, and victim compensation forms
  • Emotional and personal support during medical, criminal justice, or law enforcement procedures
  • Criminal court orientation, support, and advocacy from arrest to disposition of the case
  • Assistance with property return, accompaniment during line-ups, interviews, and photo sessions
  • Transportation and accompaniment to court-related interviews, depositions, pretrial hearings, trials, and sentencing
  • Death notification in cases of homicide and other types of death

Please contact Victim Advocate Donna Zeh at dzeh@cityofnsb.com or (386) 424-2232 and Victim Advocate Fonda Mrnacaj at fmrnacaj@cityofnsb.com or (386) 424-2269 for further details.

Next, the mayor read a proclamation declaring Jan. 21 to be Arbor Day in the City of New Smyrna Beach and handed the microphone over to Maintenance Operations Director David Ray to elaborate on supporting city activities.

"This year we're partnering with the Utilities Commission for their Water-Wise Garden Fair on Feb. 5. We will have over 400 trees that we will be giving away to all the residents of New Smyrna that want to come out and get a tree to plant in their yard and help New Smyrna stay green," said Ray.

Arbor Day was first observed in 1872 with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska and is now celebrated throughout the world. Trees can reduce the erosion of precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen, and provide habitat for wildlife. In addition, trees are a renewable resource of paper, wood for homes, fuel for fires, and countless other wood products.

Would you like to know more? Watch video replay of this meeting here and contact the City Clerk's Office at clerk@cityofnsb.com or (386) 410-2630.

From left, Police Chief Mike Coffin, Volusia Rape Crisis Center Victim Advocate Rachael Becker, Delo

Photo: From left, Police Chief Mike Coffin, Volusia Rape Crisis Center Victim Advocate Rachael Becker, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center Regional Advocate Chanel Dionne, NSBPD Victim Advocate Donna Zeh, Mayor Russ Owen, NSBPD Victim Advocate Fonda Mrnacaj

From left, Maintenance Operations Director David Ray, Mayor Russ Owen

Photo: From left, Maintenance Operations Director David Ray, Mayor Russ Owen