ATLANTA (LAWFUEL) – Associate Attorney General Kevin J. O’Connor today announced almost $10 million in additional funding to supplement existing task forces and to expand the number of task forces working with community-based organizations to combat human trafficking. The Associate Attorney General made the announcement at the 2008 National Conference on Human Trafficking, where more than 350 representatives from federal, state, and local organizations gathered to discuss methods of investigating human trafficking and servitude and how best to provide services to trafficking victims.
“Human Trafficking is a serious crime and deserves the focused attention of law enforcement and victim service providers,” said Associate Attorney General O’Connor. “The task forces receiving funding today are made up of both of these important elements. We will continue to use all of the resources at our disposal to make sure that traffickers are convicted and that victims receive the assistance they need to recover.”
Since 2001, the Department has partnered with state and local law enforcement, and victim service organizations to convict 342 traffickers and assist 1,300 victims from 80 countries. In 2007 alone, the Department opened 154 new trafficking investigations.
Of the funds announced today, more than $4.1 million will go to task forces in: Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; Boston, Mass.; Suffolk County, N.Y.; New Jersey; Nassau County, N.Y..; San Jose, Calif.; Saint Paul, Minn.; Lee County, Fla.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Multnomah County, Ore..; Westminster, Calif.; Homestead, Fla.; Pitt County, N.C..; Harris County, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; and Clearwater, Fla. Three new task forces will be established in Westminster, Calif.; Homestead, Fla; and Pitt County, N.C. To date, the Department has provided more than $70 million in total funding to these task forces.
In addition, the following victim service organizations have received funding to work with the task forces:
Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance
International Rescue Committee, Miami, Fla.
North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Salvation Army, Orange County, Calif.
Bilateral Safety Corridor
San Diego, Calif.
YMCA of Greater Houston Area
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs
Chicago, Ill. area
Safe Horizon, Inc.
New York City and Nassau County, N.Y. areas
Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Island Division
Justice Resource Institute, Inc.
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
Los Angeles, Calif.
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
International Rescue Committee
International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis
St. Louis, Mo.
Catholic Charities of Venice, Inc.
Lee County, Fla.
Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Catholic Charities Oregon
Salvation Army Alaska
Refugees Services of Texas
The Department also announced more than $400,000 to fund two studies conducted by Abt Associates, Inc. and San Diego State University Research Foundation. The studies will assess criminal justice strategies and collaborative programs across the country and internationally that focus on reducing the demand for commercial sex.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. More information about OJP’s work on human trafficking can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov. More information about the efforts of the Civil Rights Division to combat human trafficking can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/whatwedo/whatwedo_ctip.html.