Application Period for Funds to Fight Human Trafficking Now Open
This is a press release from the Humboldt Area Foundation:
The Humboldt Area Foundation, in partnership with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission, has created the Humboldt County Human Rights Human Trafficking Fund. This fund will disperse $20,000 to support projects in Humboldt County focused on one or more of the followings:
· Awareness of human trafficking.
· Education on the definition, identification, defense against and reporting of human trafficking.
· Outreach on the definition, identification, defense against and reporting of human trafficking.
· Education geared toward businesses, especially the legitimate cannabis industry, on the definitions of human trafficking and proper employment standards.
· Facilitation for communication between all agencies, organizations, and advocates impacted by human trafficking.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra defines human trafficking as “modern day slavery,” a crime that “involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, and may involve the use of violence, threats, lies, or debt bondage.” Contrary to common understanding, human trafficking “does not require travel or transportation of the victim across local, state or international borders.” Any exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking.
In Humboldt County, members of the Human Rights Commission see a “communication gap” between victims and law enforcement. That gap has been perpetuated by black market industries which have left many issues unreported and created a “clandestine culture of abuse.” The HCHRC emphasizes the importance of education and outreach to the new legitimate cannabis community in ensuring a safer and healthier community.
On Aug. 24 the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission hosted a stakeholders meeting at Humboldt Area Foundation to help identify where the funds were needed most. Attendees included the HCHRC’s human trafficking ad hoc committee, representatives from the Arcata Police Department, the Eureka Police Department, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, health and rape crisis advocacy groups and survivors of human trafficking.
The Humboldt Area Foundation will begin accepting applications for funding for various projects that relate to the goal of greater awareness, education and better understanding of the issue locally. The application process is due to start October 1 with the first round of recommendations going to the Board of Supervisors by December 1.
Any groups or individuals who believe they could aid the County in this effort are encouraged to contact the Humboldt Area Foundation. Additional funds to build on the County Human Trafficking Fund are also welcome. For further information, please call 707-442-2993. You may also email: CraigW@hafoundation.org