New Hampshire To Receive $1.3 Million Grant For Combating Human Trafficking

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Concord, N.H.— United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice and core team partners from the Manchester Police Department, Child and Family Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – Homeland Security Investigations and Give Way to Freedom announced a grant of $1.3 million from the United States Department of Justice that will support the efforts of the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force as it works to formalize and enhance existing efforts, and build statewide capacity to combat human trafficking.

          With this grant the Collaborative aims to create comprehensive and specialized services for all victims of human trafficking, investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking cases, and support data collection and analysis that will help guide the state in developing best practices for an informed response.

United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice said, “This grant brings much-needed funding that will substantially enhance our ability to pursue human trafficking investigations and prosecutions in the future.  The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement and community partners to identify and prosecute individuals who are engaged in human trafficking.  We will work tirelessly to bring these criminals to justice in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the victims of this very serious crime.”

“Fundamental to the Collaborative’s efforts is the understanding that human trafficking impacts vulnerable people and populations, and any true response must include support to prevent and address vulnerability in whatever form it may take,” explained Erin Albright, Regional Program Director of Give Way to Freedom.

“In order to effectively investigate human trafficking, we must give primary consideration to the needs of the victim.  A victim who can tell their story and testify as a competent witness is key to a successful human trafficking investigation and prosecution.  Unless we can address the needs of the victim – whether that be by facilitating long-term care, or by assisting with potential immigration benefits – our efforts to hold traffickers responsible will be hindered.  To this end, combatting human trafficking requires a multi-disciplinary approach, as we have established here in New Hampshire,” added Matt Etre, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), HSI Boston.

“We’ve seen first-hand how trafficking, both sex and labor, is impacting people of all ages here in New Hampshire, especially those in vulnerable or marginalized circumstances,” says Erin Kelly, Runaway & Homeless Youth program director at Child and Family Services. “This collaborative will serve as a powerful first step and formidable force against human trafficking in New Hampshire.”

Chief Nick Willard, Manchester Police Department said, “The Manchester Police Department is proud to be a part of this Collaborative Task Force that will address Human Trafficking.  This grant allows us to move forward in developing a multi-disciplinary, victim centered approach to addressing the ever increasing number of Human Trafficking cases that are coming to light in the city of Manchester and throughout the state of New Hampshire.”

          BACKGROUND: The Manchester New Hampshire Police Department (MPD) and Child and Family Services of New Hampshire (CFS) jointly submitted a 2016 Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Task Force grant to the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force, which includes more than 30 NH-based law enforcement, service providers, attorneys, state agencies, and other community stakeholders gathered for the purpose of improving the statewide response to human trafficking. The Collaborative is further supported by members of a Core Team including The US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire (USAO/NH), ICE, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Give Way to Freedom (GWTF). The grant was awarded to New Hampshire for $1.3 million over three years.

Additional information on the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force and the work of the Core Team’s investigation, service to survivors, data collection and training can be found at Give Way to Freedom’s website:

http://www.givewaytofreedom.org/initiatives/New-Hampshire-Task-Force.php[external link]

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