CUMBERLAND — Gov. 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 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, brings 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 a recorded welcome, Hogan thanked those who work on the front lines of this issue and highlighted his administration’s commitment to end human trafficking.

Hogan has prioritized addressing the issue of human trafficking and its impacts in Maryland. 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 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, 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.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services announced the recent expansion of the Child Sex Trafficking Screening and Services Act Regional Navigator Program, which connects victims of child trafficking with comprehensive services that assist them with achieving safety and self-sufficiency. The program operates in 10 jurisdictions across Maryland.

Law enforcement, youth development programs and victim services organizations are encouraged to work in providing resources to victims of human trafficking.

This year’s conference is held virtually. For additional information, visit http://www.marylandchildtraffickingconference.org/.

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