A $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will fund two full-time law enforcement officers to investigate human trafficking, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said Monday.
One of the positions will be an officer at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the other will be a criminal investigator at the District Attorney’s Office.
The three-year grant also will fund a part-time child therapist at Family Services of Tulare County, and provide funds for victim shelter, food, health care and other expenses.
The grant will run from 2016 to 2019.
Two years ago, the District Attorney’s Office started the Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force. Since then, the district attorney has filed eight cases of human trafficking against 14 defendants involving 26 victims.
“We are seeing sophisticated, fluid trafficking operations where victims are physically moved from location to location, and where the solicitations are occurring on multiple types of social media,” Ward said.
At a news conference Monday, Ward said getting the grant has been a major goal of his office to help apprehend human trafficking suspects and to help victims.