Attorney General William Barr, Ivanka Trump announce more than $100 million in grants to combat human trafficking

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr, center, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, right and a Georgia Center for Child Advocacy staff member listen during a tour on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) – During a Sept. 21 visit to Atlanta, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced nearly $101 million in Department of Justice grants to combat human trafficking across the United States.

The DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime allocated over $97.4 million to various service providers and task forces, and the National Institute of Justice awarded an additional $3.5 million to support ongoing human trafficking research.

Barr made the announcement with presidential advisor and daughter of the president Ivanka Trump, after the pair joined Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia’s First Lady, Marty Kemp, for a tour of The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy in downtown Atlanta. Barr praised the Kemps for their commitment to ending human trafficking.

“The governor and the first lady here have been second to none in the nation in taking this fight on and working closely with the federal government and I really appreciate that,” Barr said, according to an AP News report.

The grants from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs includes $35 million in funding to provide safe housing for victims of human trafficking, which the DOJ first announced on Aug. 4.

As part of OVC’s Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking program, DOJ officials awarded $500,000 to Wellspring Living, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that provides recovery services for domestic sex trafficking victims.

According to DOJ officials, this program funding is intended to provide victims of human trafficking with six to 24 months of transitional or short-term housing assistance. Wellspring Living’s Executive Director, Mary Frances Bowley, announced that the funding will be used to provide victims with several different types of housing and various support services.

Bowley also serves on the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission, a task force co-chaired by First Lady of Georgia Marty Kemp.

“Mary Frances and her team at Wellspring Living understand the importance of these funds in their efforts to enhance the lives of human trafficking survivors in our state,” First Lady Marty Kemp said in an Aug. 4 announcement. “Under this funding, Wellspring will be able to expand their efforts and ensure that more survivors get the help they need.”

The national grant also benefits other nearby communities, including in Alabama. Two Alabama-based organizations also received OVC funding meant to support the efforts of multidisciplinary task forces combating human trafficking in the U.S.

Under the Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking program, the Office of the Alabama Attorney General has been awarded $769,450, and The Montgomery Area Family Violence Program has been awarded $521,545.

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