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Shreveport, Baton Rouge to receive $1M in federal grants to help victims of human trafficking

August 4, 2020
In The News

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport non-profit is one of more than 70 organizations in 33 states getting a cut of more then $35 million in Justice Department grants aimed at providing safe housing for survivors of human trafficking.

According to members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, The Kennedy Center of Louisiana in Shreveport is receiving $414,934.

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that impacts communities around the nation and Shreveport is no exception. These resources will go a long way towards helping poor and vulnerable victims, as we continue our work in Congress to end this predatory practice and bring traffickers to justice,” U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) said in a statement Tuesday announcing the funding.

“The funds will be used to implement a program that will use a victim-centered approach to provide safe, stable transitional housing for about 30 trafficking victims throughout northwestern Louisiana. Additionally, the program will offer clients crisis intervention, mental health services and education and work training, and clothing and food.”

Baton Rouge-based Empower 225 is also getting $499,458 for housing and support programs that will mostly focus on the Baton Rouge area, but U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) says the organization will also target and support victims in Shreveport and New Orleans, particularly among the most vulnerable populations.

In a statement released Tuesday, Cassiday said the project will serve at least 30 victims each year. In addition to housing, the program will provide intensive case management, client intake and assessment, life skills, clothing and food, crisis intervention, documentation assistance, education and workforce training, family reunification, mental health services, and an array of additional services.

“Victims of human trafficking endure indescribable torment. They deserve our support. These funds make a real difference in the lives of victims and help them recover from their trauma,” said Dr. Cassidy.

Louisiana’s $1 million in grants are part of the Trump administration’s effort to help victims of human trafficking. The administration announced today that it is awarding $35 million in grant funding to similar victim support programs across the country.