The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced awards of nearly $153 million to fight human trafficking in Georgia. Approximately $4.3 million will assist law enforcement officials and victim service providers in prosecuting human traffickers and helping survivors.
“Human trafficking is a pervasive, growing threat plaguing communities across our state and country,” said First Lady Marty Kemp who attended the announcement on November 12 along with state and federal officials. “I am deeply grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice for this new funding that will truly save lives.”
Members of the GRACE Commission which Kemp co-chairs were also on hand for the announcement.
State Attorney General Chris Carr says the grant money will allow Georgia to continue and expand its anti-trafficking efforts. He says the additional resources “will help ensure more victims in Georgia get the help and support that they need and ensure that law enforcement officials have every tool at their disposal to put buyers and traffickers behind bars where they belong.”
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Byung J. “BJay” Pak stressed his office’s commitment to “eradicating human trafficking” in the district.
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Charlie Peeler called out offenders for preying on vulnerable citizens, “taking advantage of their age, their desire for love and affection, their financial status, and their addictions.” He adds, he’s confident “these federal dollars will provide critical support to those who are dedicated to protecting victims and arresting perpetrators, which will lead to the end of human trafficking in our state.”
Grants will support a range of activities
Grant awards will support a range of activities designed to bring sex and labor traffickers to justice and provide critical services to victims.
A grant to the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will fund a multi-disciplinary task force composed of law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and several victim service organizations. Funds will also support direct victim services provided under the auspices of the Georgia Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking.
Other awards will help to ensure that children and minors who are victimized receive counseling, case management, and other critical services.
The Georgia Care Connection Office, Inc.; Wellspring Living, Inc.; Tapestri, Inc.; and the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy are among the grant recipients.
The remainder of the state’s awards cover a wide range of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and victim service activities.
Grants will support school safety initiatives, law enforcement hiring, services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, inmate re-entry services, youth mentoring, and efforts to combat online child exploitation and manage sex offenders.
Awards were made by the three grant-making components of the Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).