PUBLIC SAFETY BRIEFS – October 11, 2018

Human Trafficking Task Force Receipt of Grant Award

The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) announced recently it has received a combined total of $1.5 million dollars in federal grant funding following receipt of two awards announced by the United States Department of Justice. The grants were made possible through the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) divisions under the “Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking” program. The grant awards were announced Sept. 29 following a successful application for funding submitted by the task force last spring.
The Department of Justice awards these grants through a competitive application and review process. This year’s Enhanced Collaborative Model grant awards funded a total of seventeen human trafficking task forces across the United States. A complete listing of funded programs made possible by BJA and OVC can be viewed at the following websites: BJA Award Page & OVC Award Page.
Receipt of these funds will help continue and expand upon the task force’s law enforcement, victim service, and outreach efforts over the next three years. Among other things, receipt of this grant will provide for expansion of the task force through the addition of a task force officer as well as expand upon the task force’s victim service efforts through the addition of Rebirth Homes, a non-profit anti-human trafficking organization.
The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was initially formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion. These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement. The RCAHT Task Force provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse, Rebirth Homes, and Million Kids. The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, Riverside County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, along with the part-time participation of the Hemet Police Department and Riverside Police Department.
Anyone with questions about the RCAHT Task Force is encouraged to contact Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. John Sawyer at 951-955-1700 or via email at jsawyer@riversidesheriff.org. Suspected human trafficking leads or tips can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

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