Health Imperatives Gets $750K to Counter Human Trafficking
October 3, 2020 — Health Imperatives, a Brockton nonprofit that provides health services to low-income and vulnerable families and individuals in southeastern Massachusetts, recently received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to support efforts that address human trafficking.
The office of the Plymouth County district attorney (DA), which announced the grant award earlier this week, received a similar grant to work with Health Imperatives on the project.
Julia Kehoe, president and CEO of Health Imperatives, said, “We are honored to partner with the Plymouth Country district attorney’s office to create a collaborative task force to address human trafficking. We are seeing increasing numbers of human trafficking victims across our programs and services.
“This grant allows us to put a spotlight on this critically important issue and work together with the district attorney’s office to identify strategies that will increase awareness of human trafficking in our community and deliver much-needed services to victims.”
“My office continues to aggressively prosecute those who manipulate, abuse, and sell human beings for profit… and I look forward to working with Health Imperatives, and our law enforcement partners, to further our success in addressing human trafficking,” DA Timothy J. Cruz said.
The DA”s office and Health Imperatives were the only grant recipients in Massachusetts of $97.4 million awarded to 30 agencies and programs in 11 states to bolster efforts to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases and get victims vital services.
The DA’s office and Health Imperatives will work collaboratively to use the funding to create the Plymouth County Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force will be comprised of members representing a diverse array of community stakeholders relevant to addressing human trafficking issues. The task force aims to include members from local hospitals, educational institutions, law enforcement, nonprofits, and faith communities.
A project coordinator for the task force will be hired to improve public awareness and survivor outreach efforts. The coordinator will also conduct a community assessment to update data and determine where outreach is needed in the county.
Health Imperatives will utilize the grant money to elevate their services for trafficking victims by developing a Human Trafficking Unit within their Violence Intervention and Prevention Department. This unit will include a Survivor Specialist, who will execute human trafficking direct service intervention programming, and an Outreach and Training Coordinator, who will develop trainings for staff and external partners.