The Miami-Dade Police Department is receiving more than $2 million to help combat human trafficking in the South Florida community.
The funds are coming from the International Rescue Committee, which the police department has worked with for years.
A total of $2,366,666 will be used to fund anti-trafficking programming and investigative activities for at least three years. The money will be used to raise awareness about human trafficking, pour resources into investigations and continue to help victims heal after trauma.
“it’s about enforcement… it’s about saving lives and healing,” said MDPD Director Freddy Ramirez. “There are a lot of victims that live in the shadows of our community and I'm so proud of how this has evolved that we have partners here providing resources getting to the root causes and providing solutions for victims."
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The mission is also expanding beyond sex trafficking – focusing on other types of this crime that might get overlooked.
“Labor trafficking does take place in our community,” said Caridad Más-Batchelor, MDPD Special Projects Administrator. “We’re hoping to focus our attention in South Miami-Dade, where we know there's a lot of agricultural labor taking place there. There are a lot of vulnerable populations that we want to build rapport with and again increase the identification of victims.”
The multi-million grant will help the various parts of combating human trafficking, like investigating the case, prosecuting the criminals and helping the victims heal. The healing will be a victim-centered approach to save the victims from reliving the trauma.
“The first step of the process is to be able to provide those basics,” said Florencia Dominguez with IRC. “And then, we move on to provide health services, mental health services, connecting them with an attorney and transportation.”
They said every single victim of human trafficking has a completely different story, so they take their time and move at the victim’s pace every step of the way.