Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno EOC, Tulare County DA Get Federal Anti-Human Trafficking Grants
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 4 years ago on
November 13, 2019

Share

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded nearly $1.4 million in grants to agencies in Fresno and Tulare County to battle human trafficking and provide services to trafficking victims, the agency announced Tuesday.


Listen to this article:


DOJ is awarding more than $100 million in grants through the Office for Victims of Crime Programs, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The awardees include the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, which was awarded $499,998 in a three-year grant to provide services to victims through the Central Valley Against Human Trafficking project, and Tulare County, which was awarded $899,737 for the District Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force.
“We’re able to expand services, but this has been a long time coming,” said Sarah Johnston, program manager for the Central Valley Against Human Trafficking project, which serves a six-county region and leads the anti-trafficking efforts throughout the Central Valley.
There have been more than 993 victims of human trafficking from 2010 through September 2019 in the region, including 212 so far this year, according to the Fresno EOC. The majority of the 212 were trafficked for sex, and nearly all (198) were women or girls.



Fresno EOC provides Sanctuary and Support Services for runaway and exploited youth and oversees the CVAHT project that serves a six-county region and leads anti-trafficking efforts throughout the Central Valley.

Referrals from ‘Friday Court’ Swell Caseload

“We’re really excited about it, that it’s expanding the services that are provided to minors. This funding is really going to help with that.”Sarah Johnston, CVAHT program manager
Johnston said the federal money will help subsidize services provided directly by the project, which is already at caseload capacity, as well as services provided by partner agencies. The money will be targeted at programs specifically designated to assist trafficking victims under age 18.
“We’re really excited about it, that it’s expanding the services that are provided to minors,” she said. “This funding is really going to help with that.”
The vast increase in cases is due in large part to Fresno County Superior Court’s “Friday Court,” where minors who are in the dependency and delinquency systems are identified as either at-risk or already victims of human trafficking and are referred to CFAHT for services, Johnston said.
The grant will enable CVAHT to provide direct services to about 25 more minors each year, she said. Currently the project can juggle about 75 caseloads at a time.

Empowerment, Parents Groups to Form

In addition, the grant will underwrite the establishment of a minor empowerment group that will help 25 trafficking victims each year of the three-year program, with therapy sessions to help them build a peer support system, develop coping mechanisms, and increase self-esteem, Johnston said.

“This is an issue that folks weren’t talking about years ago. But we really believe that this task force and the awareness that is raised of human trafficking in our community has really shown why it has been a success.”Stuart Anderson, Tulare County District Attorney’s Office spokesman
Also, the grant will underwrite a parent support group to help parents learn more about the issues surrounding their trafficked child and how to reconnect, she said.
A portion of the grant — $45,000 — will underwrite a bed at the Fresno EOC Sanctuary Homeless Youth Shelter that will be designated for trafficking victims.
Meanwhile, the grant is enabling the Fresno EOC to hire a minor services coordinator who will help develop new prevention and intervention projects for victims of sex trafficking who are younger than 18.

Partner Agencies Provide Services

Portions of the grant will be funneled to partner agencies, Johnston said. Breaking the Chains, which provides rescue and restorative services to human trafficking victims in the Central Valley, will get $20,000 each year, or $60,000 over three years, for a half-time advocate. The agency already receives $45,000 for a case manager and half-time advocate, but that’s through a separate one-year grant, Johnston said.
The Family Healing Center will get $10,000 yearly to provide therapy services for clients from CVAHT, Johnston said.

Human Trafficking Task Force Gets Boost

The grant to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office — the second from the Department of Justice — helps underwrite the efforts of the county’s Human Trafficking Task Force, spokesman Stuart Anderson said. The task force was established by the DA’s office in 2014 to join law enforcement and other stakeholders in identifying and providing services to victims of human trafficking, and to investigate and prosecute the offenders.
The first three-year federal grant, which was awarded in 2016, paid for a full-time DA investigator and sheriff’s deputy to focus on human trafficking cases, and also paid for an evaluator-consultant to track the progress of the Tulare County program and provide progress reports to the Justice Department, he said.

New Grant Starts Jan. 1

The new three-year grant, which begins Jan. 1, will include those positions and also cover the cost of adding a coordinator to the task force, who will be responsible for coordinating law enforcement trainings, coordinate outreach and meetings, raise community awareness, and facilitate human trafficking investigations and prosecutions, Anderson said.
“We’ve been very pleased with how this has evolved in terms of community awareness,” he said. “This is an issue that folks weren’t talking about years ago. But we really believe that this task force and the awareness that is raised of human trafficking in our community has really shown why it has been a success.
“And we’re very much grateful to the Department of Justice for finding our task force ready and up to the challenge for another three years. And we will continue to help victims become survivors.”

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

UP NEXT

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Local Leaders Must Put Their Shoulders Into Making Fresno ‘Education City USA’

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

11 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

22 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

23 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

24 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

1 day ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

1 day ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

1 day ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

1 day ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

1 day ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

1 day ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

You might have noticed that the tangy taste of pickles has taken over more than just the condiment aisle. From pickle-flavored popcorn to pi...

10 hours ago

10 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

10 hours ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

10 hours ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

11 hours ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

22 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

23 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

24 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

1 day ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend