Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the United States Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime that will be used to improve outcomes for child and youth victims of human trafficking.
According to the governor's office, the grant is a multi-year award that will be administered by the newly established Louisiana Governor’s Office of Human Trafficking Prevention and will help fund the Louisiana Child and Youth Trafficking Collaborative Accessibility Initiative.
This is the second time Louisiana has been selected for the award.
Louisiana was one of two states selected for the 2021 Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking grant award.
In 2019, Louisiana was the only state to receive a similar $1.2 million grant. Since then, the governor's office says more than a thousand professionals have been trained to utilize best practices and improve victim identification, hundreds of victims have been served, and human trafficking specific multi-disciplinary teams have been established in every region of the state.
This year, Gov. Edwards signed into law a bill creating the Office of Human Trafficking Prevention. Dr. Dana Hunter was appointed as executive director.
“The Office of Human Trafficking Prevention could not be prouder to begin its efforts with approved funding from the U.S. Department of Justice OVC,” said Dr. Hunter. “We will work with every entity in the state of Louisiana that interphases with vulnerable children and individuals to combat human trafficking. We want to send a strong message that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the state of Louisiana. Our children and citizens deserve to be safe and victims deserve to be heard. We plan to utilize every dollar of this grant to promote just that: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships.”
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