ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation recognizing the month of January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Maryland, during the first day of the Maryland Child Trafficking Virtual Conference. The 2021 conference hosted by the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, Maryland Department of Human Services, University of Maryland School of Social Work Institute for Innovation and Implementation, and Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, will bring together more than 500 professionals over two days to share best practices for advancing anti-human trafficking efforts, addressing factors that lead to human trafficking, and developing new strategies for addressing needs of child trafficking victims and survivors in Maryland. In a recorded welcome, Governor Hogan thanked those who work on the front lines of this issue and highlighted his administration’s commitment to end human trafficking.
Governor Hogan has prioritized addressing the issue of human trafficking and its impacts in Maryland. The Hogan administration, through the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, has allocated $58 million since 2015 to support evidence-based and comprehensive anti-human trafficking efforts across Maryland.
“This commitment has already helped over 3,000 victims of human trafficking, including victims of child sex trafficking. In 2019, I signed key legislation that made felony human trafficking a crime of violence, and labor trafficking a criminal offense,” said Governor Hogan. “It takes resources, dedication, and compassion from each of us to put an end to this horrific crime and to support victims and their families.”
In 2018, Governor Hogan tasked the Child Advocacy Centers Best Practices Workgroup with developing protocols for Child Advocacy Centers and their law enforcement partners, as well as other organizations working to support child victims of sex trafficking.
Recently, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services announced the expansion of the Child Sex Trafficking Screening and Services Act Regional Navigator Program, which connects victims of child trafficking ages 24-years-old and younger with comprehensive services that assist them with achieving safety and self-sufficiency. The program now operates in 10 jurisdictions across Maryland.
“We are proud to work closely with our partners to host this conference and protect the health, safety, and overall well-being of children and young people in Maryland,” said Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services Executive Director Glenn Fueston. “We are committed to building a network of resources and a culture of support for victims of child trafficking that involves equipping folks on the front lines with tools and information they can use to help victims reclaim their lives.”
The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services utilizes a comprehensive strategy in its multidisciplinary response to the root causes and impacts of child trafficking, and human trafficking at-large to make Maryland safer. The Office strategically allocates state and federal funding to collaborative projects that assist victims of trafficking and identify, disrupt, and dismantle human trafficking operations in Maryland. Law enforcement agencies, youth development programs, and victim services organizations are also actively encouraged to work together in providing resources to victims of human trafficking so they can achieve safety and self-sufficiency away from those who seek to exploit and harm them.
This year’s conference is held virtually to accommodate social distancing and protect the health and safety of attendees. The conference continues January 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. For additional information on the conference and to view the complete agenda, visit http://www.marylandchildtraffickingconference.org/.