Mississippi’s fight against human trafficking gets $2 million boost

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Agencies fighting human trafficking while helping survivors across Mississippi have received a funding boost from the State of Mississippi.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced distribution of $2.08 million from the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Exploitation Fund to nine Mississippi organizations that help human trafficking victims become survivors. This is the second round of grants from the Fund since the Mississippi Legislature created it in the 2020 Legislative Session.

“Few crimes rob a person of their humanity, power and dignity like human trafficking, but we do not have to let it steal their future,” said General Fitch.

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“Helping human trafficking victims become survivors takes us all coming together, and Mississippi is blessed with these nine organizations committed to walking alongside these victims on their journey to find healing and restoration. I am grateful for the State Legislature’s willingness to ensure these organizations have the resources they need to support these brave individuals working to rebuild their lives. And I am grateful to the members of the Fund Committee for the time and thoughtful consideration they offer the state to ensure these funds are spent to fulfill the Legislature’s intent.”

More information on the application and solicitation, Fund rules, and other information related to this distribution and the Fund in general can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website. In total, the Fund received 13 applications during this funding period, with projects totaling over $3.19 million.

Recipients of 2024 Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Fund:

Center for Violence Prevention (CVP), also a 2023 grantee, received $813,575 to continue funding the Rapid Response Team responders who assist in victim recovery, screening and service provision; legal services provided by specialized attorneys who help victims with their complex legal needs; and the new construction project for the Tower shelter facility.

Domestic Abuse Family Shelter received $93,433 for advocacy and shelter services for human trafficking survivors at their shelters in Laurel and Hattiesburg. In addition, the funds will be used to pay for an external evaluation of their ongoing human trafficking program.

El Pueblo received $93,472 to expand existing legal services to specifically serve victims of both sex and labor trafficking in Central and South Mississippi.

Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, also a 2023 grantee, received $146,446 to continue funding partial salaries for employees that serve human trafficking victims. Funds will also be used for case management and supplies to serve human trafficking victims at their existing shelters in Biloxi and Pascagoula.

Hope Village received $321,722 to help establish a shelter for minor victims of human trafficking. The funds will be used to renovate an existing building to specifically meet the needs of minor victims. The award will also fully fund the salary of a Program Director for the new human trafficking program and partial salary of a full-time therapist.

Mississippians Against Human Trafficking, also a 2023 grantee, received $79,500 to fund direct victim assistance as well web portal development and implementation for the assistance program.

Natchez Children’s Advocacy Center received $12,594 for staff training.

Southern Christian Services, also a 2023 grantee, received $492,278 to continue operation of a children’s human trafficking shelter, a project in cooperation with Sunnybrook Children’s Home.

Sunnybrook Children’s Home, also a 2023 grantee, received $27,800 to continue providing a facility and grounds maintenance for the shelter facility operated by Southern Christian Services.