On Nov. 1, the applications for the first distributions from the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Fund became available. As much as $2.5 million will be available for organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking.
“An estimated 40.3 million people are currently being trafficked for forced labor or sex around the world,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch, “including right here in Mississippi. There are few crimes that rob a person of their very humanity and dignity like human trafficking. These funds will help these victims begin to piece their lives back together and make their way to becoming survivors.”
The Legislature created the Fund through HB 1559 during the 2020 Legislative Session to provide funding to direct service providers for trafficking victims throughout Mississippi. The Fund is managed by a seven-member committee, including appointments by the Attorney General, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Commissioner of Public Safety, and Commissioner of Child Protection Services, and one representative of a services provider. The Fund is administered by the Attorney General’s Office.
By statute, funding comes from assessments for convictions of certain crimes, donations, and legislative appropriations. In 2022, the Fund received its first donation from the River of Pearls Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Additionally, during the 2022 Legislative Session, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated $2.5 million dollars to the Fund.
The application and solicitation, Fund rules, and other information related to this distribution and the Fund in general can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website, here. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Nov. 23. Funding decisions will be announced in December.