The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it will renew a federal grant that supports the Cook County State’s Attorney’s efforts to combat human trafficking and the sex trafficking of minor children, according to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
The $500,000 grant will provide funding over the next two years and will assist in enabling the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative to continue to provide training, programming and help link at-risk children and the victims of trafficking to agencies providing essential services.
“Government funding is scarce here in Cook County and the renewal of this grant is critical to supporting our efforts to aggressively investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases,” said Alvarez. “Equally as important is that it will enable us to continue to provide services and assistance to the victims of this horrific crime.”
Working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, the State’s Attorney Office will continue to use funding for the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases and to provide specialized training for prosecutors to identify potential trafficking victims when they come to court on seemingly unrelated cases.
Resources also fund a staff position that tracks cases as they go through the criminal justice system and help ensure victims are connected to appropriate counseling and support services.
The grant will also continue to assist local social service agencies that help to provide services to trafficking victims. The Salvation Army’s STOP IT Program and the International Organization for Adolescents will receive funding to hire and train case workers, provide support services to victims, training for law enforcement and conduct public awareness campaigns across Cook County.
This grant was first awarded in 2010 and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office was just one of four law enforcement agencies nationwide to be awarded funding.