MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)– The Dane County Executive is working with the state’s attorney general to address sex trafficking in the community.
On Wednesday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced he is including $80,000 in his 2020 budget to support Project Respect, which serves survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Parisi was joined by Attorney General Josh Kaul, The Rape Crisis Center, and Dane County Department of Human Services.
“Sex trafficking is entirely unacceptable and illegal in our community, but it is still pervasive,” said Parisi. “Dane County is committed to doing everything we can to stop sex trafficking and advocate for survivors. My 2020 budget gives Project Respect the funding it needs to expand its efforts and reach those who have been impacted by this crisis in our community.”
The funding will be used to create a new, full-time position for Project Respect. The position will help with safety planning, crisis intervention, and intensive case management services to juvenile and adult survivors of trafficking. They will also provide rapid response to calls for service by partners in the Dane County community and the coordination of social services to reach highly marginalized survivors and/or families who may not typically ask for help.
Parisi met with Kaul earlier in 2019 to discuss how Dane County could best address sex trafficking in the community. Parisi also met with Dane County’s Neighborhood Intervention youth social workers, detectives from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, and the Dane County Commission on Sensitive Crimes to receive feedback.
“Having access to services can both help survivors with the recovery process and empower survivors who want to work with law enforcement to bring human traffickers to justice,” said Kaul.
In 2018, The National Human Trafficking Hotline was alerted to 134 cases of human trafficking in Wisconsin. Nearly 11,000 cases were reported nationwide.
Project Respectbegan as a city and county project and became a community-based project under ARC Community Services, Inc. in 1986.