Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $749,940)
Riverside County is the fourth largest county in California in population size and geographical landmass and the 10th largest county in the nation. Human trafficking, both for labor and sex, is a complex and pervasive issue that poses significant challenges for identifying, investigating, and prosecuting cases in Riverside County. Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisenhower (BSCC) and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) are located in Riverside County, California. RCAHT is seeking $750,000 on behalf of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the lead law enforcement agency, and $750,000 on behalf of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisenhower, the lead victim service provider.
Of the approximately 400 tips to the Riverside County Anti Human Trafficking taskforce annually, only three percent are reports of labor trafficking. Victims of human trafficking often are afraid to come forward. Members of RCAHT have the passion, dedication, and capability to investigate incidents of labor trafficking. The challenge lies in identifying incidents throughout the vast geography of Riverside County. Victim service providers have served over 574 human trafficking victims since October 2019, while RCAHT investigative personnel have worked on over 473 labor trafficking and sex trafficking investigations, with 46 criminal prosecutions of traffickers.
RCAHT believes a victim-centered approach puts the survivor’s needs and interests at the center of all we do as a task force. This includes avoiding the arrest, charge, or prosecution of human trafficking victims for any offense that is the direct result of their victimization. RCAHT will never require a victim of human trafficking to collaborate with law enforcement as a condition of access to comprehensive victim services. RCAHT acknowledges the need to apply a diversified, multi-pronged approach related to training and outreach to increase the identification and reporting of human trafficking in all its forms. This proposal creates five coordinated positions as sub-recipients: a Task Force Coordinator, Lived Experience Advisory Board, a Bilingual Outreach Worker, and RCAHT Response Team Advocates. This grant proposal seeks to expand RCAHT’s intelligence network to increase the identification of labor trafficking and sex trafficking victims and assist them towards survivorship.