TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) --Authorities in the South Valley have announced the award of a major grant, that they say will help serve victims of human trafficking and go after those who enslave victims.
The three year, $1.4 million grant from three federal agencies will allow the Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force to fight what the district attorney calls "sophisticated trafficking operations." The Tulare County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Office will now add full time human trafficking investigative officers. Family services will also receive funds for an advocate and victim services.
"This enhanced model is essential to finding human trafficking rings and preventing children and other vulnerable victims from ever becoming enslaved," said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward.
Since the creation of the task force, Tulare County authorities have identified 26 victims of human trafficking. They are currently prosecuting 14 criminal defendants in those cases.