Dee Norton and Tri-County Human Trafficking Task Force awarded grants to fight human trafficking in S.C.

March 25, 2021

Charleston, S.C. January 29, 2020 – Tri-county residents will have improved resources to combat human trafficking because of two federal grants recently awarded locally. The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, Charleston’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, received a three-year grant of $499,105 from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to support the Center’s work with child victims of human trafficking. Additionally, the Lincoln Tubman Foundation received a separate three-year grant from OVC for $549,345 to further initiatives of the Tri-County Human Trafficking Task Force (Task Force) to support direct, comprehensive services for both child and adult victims of trafficking.

These financial investments in Dee Norton and the Task Force will significantly impact South Carolina by providing more resources for human trafficking prevention initiatives, community outreach and response services for victims. Dee Norton is an active member of the Task Force, where they focus specifically on helping child trafficking victims. With the new OVC funding, Dee Norton and the Task Force will have the resources to expand response services and support community outreach in South Carolina.

Dee Norton began leading local efforts to address the problem of child trafficking in Charleston and Berkeley Counties in 2013, when the Center partnered with Libby Spears, director of the human trafficking documentary Playground, to coordinate a one-day community awareness training event with local professionals and national experts. The training event was a catalyst for the community and sparked the inception of several new programs and organizations. Dee Norton continued to conduct local outreach and received funding in 2014 from the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) to expand its direct services to child victims of trafficking. The NCA funding allowed the Center to establish a child sex trafficking work group in Charleston County, which involved key stakeholders to identify local needs and created a multidisciplinary protocol for responding to the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the region. With the support of OVC funding in late 2016, Dee Norton established its Improving Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Address Child Trafficking (IMPACT) Program. The IMPACT Program allowed the Center to expand its services and coordinate responses for 21 suspected and/or verified minor victims of sex trafficking in 2017 and 35 victims in 2018.

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