IDAHO — The Trump administration recently announced they are giving 35 million dollars in Justice Department grants to help fight human trafficking and provide resources for victims.
"Recognizing such a vulnerable population and such individuals that have just not been appropriately served in Idaho, recognizing that on a national level and to potentially receive funding funneling into the state would be so helpful," said Executive Director of Idaho's Anti-Trafficking Coalition, Jennifer Zielinski.
The money will be granted to 33 states and shared between 73 organizations to help victims find permanent housing, jobs, receive training and counseling.
A step that would help the current safe housing shortage, she said.
“For us, it would allow us to reinstate and expand on our housing program, it’s critical," she said. "Past funding opportunities are not designed to meet the needs of individuals who are at risk of human trafficking, victims, or survivors."
Although the Idaho ATC doesn't know if they will receive any of the money yet, this announcement helps start a bigger dialogue on awareness of human trafficking.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for us to keep the topic on the table, Idaho, we are behind, we are far behind in these efforts,” said Zielinski
They receive a money grant every year from the state agency, Council on Domestic Violence and Victims Assistance, but it's not enough.
“Furthering the opportunities for education and awareness, funding that can funnel systemically, it will be the only way that we can do a complete statewide overhaul,” said Zielinski.
Not having enough funding creates barriers for them when trying to help victims, but she said that this effort is the step in the right direction in fighting human trafficking nationally and locally here in Idaho.
To learn more about Idaho's Anti-Trafficking Coalition or to get help, click here.