BOSTON - Massachusetts has received $1.5 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice to help fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“The true measure of our strength as a society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our community,” said Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Lelling added, “That is why the Department of Justice is committed to fighting human trafficking, a heinous crime that preys on the young and the defenseless. These grants will fund efforts across Massachusetts to bring traffickers to justice and support survivors.”

As confirmed by Masslive, the grant money will allow both the district attorneys offices of Worcester and Hampden to establish units focused on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking involving minors.

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito made an announcement regarding the grant money on Wednesday at the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance in Boston.

“This funding provides additional support to organizations on the front lines who are making a difference in the lives of survivors by enhancing community programs, increasing the capacity of the law enforcement community to hold offenders accountable, and continuing to protect at-risk communities,” Polito shared in a statement.

Additionally, the money will aid the Department of Children and Families and foster families in helping minor victims deal with the traumas of sexual exploitation while finding them a safe place to live.

Local law enforcement will also be provided with better training to help identify minors at risk of trafficking and exploitation.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey shared her enthusiasm over the federal aid back in October when it was initially announced, according to Framingham Source.

“This grant recognizes the importance of our ongoing work with law enforcement and victim service providers to combat human trafficking and ensure survivors have access to the support they need,” said Healey.

“Since taking office, I have been committed to ending the exploitation of people in Massachusetts and this task force is another step toward achieving that goal.”

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