News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Seattle Police And Community Partners Selected For $750,000 In Grants To Combat Human Trafficking

Grant Award Recognizes Successful Partnership to Identify, Interdict and Prosecute Traffickers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2013

            The Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the International Rescue Committee in Seattle (IRC) will receive U.S. Justice Department grants in recognition of their leadership combatting human trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  The two grants, $500,000 to SPD and $250,000 to IRC, will continue the work of the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WashACT).  The funding pays for investigators working on human trafficking cases, and for services to victims of human trafficking.

            “This funding will support vital work combatting human trafficking in western Washington, where strong partnerships have built a model program,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “The task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement and community partners has helped more than 100 victims and prosecuted more than 60 cases of human trafficking.”

            WashACT has served as a model for human trafficking task forces around the country due to the uniquely successful collaboration among this multi-disciplinary team. WashACT was one of three task forces chosen to develop and lead intensive immersion leadership training for other human trafficking task forces sponsored by the Department of Justice (DOJ).  Further, WashACT leaders contributed significantly to DOJ’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force and are regularly called on to provide training and technical assistance on human trafficking and multi-disciplinary collaboration locally, nationally and internationally.

            “We appreciate the assistance of this grant in that it will help further the efforts of the department and others in fighting human trafficking.  Ultimately, it’s about making the victims whole again,” said Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel.

            “Nothing is more important in combating human trafficking than providing victims and survivors with the support they need to build new lives for themselves,” said Kathleen Morris, Program Manager for the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN).  “This funding will allow IRC in Seattle and our WARN partners to provide essential support and services to those affected by human trafficking in our community.” 

            The grant to the Seattle Police Department is from DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  The grant to the International Rescue Committee in Seattle is from DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).  The grants support the Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force taking a comprehensive approach to combating all forms of trafficking—sex trafficking and labor trafficking of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (male and female, adults and minors). Awards made by BJA support law enforcement agencies to coordinate the goals, objectives, and activities of the entire task force in close collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office  and victim service provider partner. Awards made by OVC support victim service organization to coordinate the provision of a comprehensive array of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to all trafficking victims identified within the geographic area impacted by the task force.

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