State Awards $485,000 to Combat Human Trafficking

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration recently awarded grant funding to five Massachusetts prosecutor’s offices to increase their capacity to investigate and prosecute human trafficking while improving services for victims of exploitation.

The 2023 Human Trafficking Enforcement and Training Grant Program was announced in September and supports efforts by district attorneys and their law-enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute human trafficking, strengthen community relationships, and expand the use of victim-centered and multi-disciplinary approaches to serving trafficking victims.

“For the past eight years, our administration has focused on supporting a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking, and we are proud to sustain that effort with these latest grants,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “This grant funding aims to further ensure that law-enforcement and service providers are equipped to provide victims with the help they need while holding accountable those who would commit these traumatic crimes.”

Awards of $97,000 each are being made to the Berkshire County District Attorney, Hampden County District Attorney, Middlesex County District Attorney, Plymouth County District Attorney, and Suffolk County District Attorney. The funded programs will build upon the success of pilot programs launched in the Hampden County District Attorney and Worcester County District Attorney offices through the FY 2019 Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking Grant. These federal funds were awarded by the Office of Victims of Crime, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

The Human Trafficking Enforcement and Training Grant Program is administered by the Office of Grants and Research (OGR), a state agency that is a part of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

“These funds will ensure that prosecutors and their law-enforcement partners have the capacity to protect the most vulnerable members of our community from exploitation. They also allow law enforcement to expand services and strengthen relationships with the communities they serve,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said.

Added OGR Executive Director Kevin Stanton, “I commend each of the district attorney’s offices receiving these grants for the excellent work they are doing to combat human trafficking and serve victims of these terrible offenses. My office is committed to helping build on the success of these efforts and expand services to survivors.”