State gets $100,000 grant to improve human trafficking training, awareness

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky’s Office of Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Prevention and Prosecution is receiving a $100,000 federal grant to improve training and public awareness of the crime.

The funding was awarded as part of DOJs Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Community Policing Development Microgrants Program.

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The grant will aid the Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Prevention and Prosecution in developing a two-pronged human trafficking awareness campaign, which includes training law enforcement and community leaders regarding the identification and handling of human trafficking situations and a multi-platform communications campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking.

“We are so grateful for the DOJs support in combating human trafficking in Kentucky,” said Heather Wagers, executive director of the Office of Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Prevention and Prosecution. “This investment in Kentucky will culminate in a campaign for community educators, law enforcement officers, and faith-based organizational leaders to recognize the signs of human trafficking and effective strategies to promote a reduction of victimization with vulnerable populations.”

Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 2,829 contacts related to Kentucky. Earlier this year, the attorney general’s office worked with the General Assembly to pass House Bill 2 which increases awareness of human trafficking and makes it easier for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute traffickers by aligning state law with existing federal laws.

“We know human trafficking impacts the lives of countless Kentuckians, but incidences of human trafficking are often undetected or unreported due to lack of awareness, misidentification, or a perceived stigma associated with trafficking,” said Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Community Policing Development Microgrants Program funds are used to develop the capacity of local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies to implement community policing strategies. Applicants for the grant were invited to propose demonstration or pilot projects to be implemented in their agency that offer creative ideas to advance crime fighting, community engagement, problem solving, or organizational changes to support community policing in different areas.