Senior adviser Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr hosted a roundtable on human trafficking in Atlanta on Monday to highlight the administration’s efforts to fight human trafficking.
“The Trump administration continues to fight tirelessly to end the scourge of human trafficking in our communities,” Ivanka said at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta. “The leaders and community members were meeting within Atlanta are on the front lines of this fight and are critical to our efforts to end this horrific crime. I look forward to learning more about the critical services they provide and announcing additional funding and resources from the Trump administration to assist in these efforts.”
Ivanka highlighted “Operation Not Forgotten,” a two-week operation that occurred last month in Georgia and resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe locating of 13 other children, and the arrest of nine criminal associates. Investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for crimes related to sex trafficking, kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, and drugs and weapons possession.
At the event, Barr announced the Department of Justice’s decision to issue $101 million in federal grants for combating human trafficking across the nation.
“This is one of the top enforcement priorities of the department and we’re on the forefront of this fight,” Barr said. “The scourge of human trafficking is the modern-day equivalent of slavery, brutally depriving victims of basic human rights and essential physical needs as it erodes their sense of dignity and self-worth.”
“The Department of Justice is relentless in its fight against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Working with state and local law enforcement and community victim service providers, we will continue to bring these criminals to justice and deliver critical aid to survivors. It’s only by cooperating with all our partners, our state and local partners, and those in the private sector that we’re going to be able to make any progress and ultimately end the victimization of those boys and girls,” Barr added.
President Trump’s administration in August awarded $35 million in Justice Department grants to organizations that provide safe housing for victims of human trafficking.
Monday’s roundtable featured Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia first lady Marty Kemp, law enforcement, service providers, and private sector partners, and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who has a foundation that is fighting human trafficking. The Tim Tebow Foundation works with organizations around the nation to help combat human trafficking and offers help for survivors.
Tebow at the roundtable told a personal story that led to his passion to fight against human trafficking.
“You know, the reason why we got into this was because 8 years ago, my dad was preaching in a remote country and there were four girls that he was next to that were being sold,” Tebow said, “And he took out all the money out of his wallet which was $1,250 and he bought those four girls. And then he called me and said, ‘I just bought four girls and not really sure what to do now.’ and I said, ‘That’s OK Dad. We’ve got your back,'”
The former NFL quarterback talked about how his foundation got deeply involved in helping children get away from human trafficking in any way they can. As a result, he and his wife Demi-Leigh he stated felt they needed to be involved in this effort.
“There are 40 million people around that world who need us. They need us to say, ‘no longer is it about the credit it’s about the mission.’ No longer is it about, well, we’re not going to work from Florida to Georgia or from right to left, we’re going to all rally together to be able to push back this darkness and push back this evil,” Tebow said. “I really appreciate the President and the administration, especially Ivanka who has been personally committed to this issue and I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with her on it. We’ve marshaled all our resources to fight this criminal activity and to do what we can to help the survivors.”
Ivanka told attendees that President Trump is “committed to combating this crime, committed to bringing justice to the victims to their families and committed to holistic healing that is so necessary for the brave survivors.”
“Tim Tebow, you and your amazing wife Demi have a real passion for tackling this and for being a voice for the voiceless. I believe that it’s one of the reasons the President has such a heart for this issue he vowed to fight,” Ivanka said. “He vowed to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country and there are few that are more voiceless and more forgotten and really in the shadows than those who have been victimized repeatedly and trafficked.”
She added, “With over $100 million being announced today in new grants, it sets the administration’s largest-ever investment in Department of Justice grants to combat the scourge of human trafficking, arguably the gravest of human rights violations. This will support victim services, it will strengthen human trafficking task force such as the great ones here in Georgia, and support unprecedented victims housing assistance across the state and nation.”
Prior to the roundtable, Ivanka and Barr toured the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, a nonprofit agency in southwest of downtown Atlanta and meet with human trafficking survivors and advocates. During the tour, they learned about the Center’s trafficking program known as the Envision Project, which delivers intensive case management and educational support, employment readiness, life skills, and personal development programming to victims of trafficking.
Ivanka previously toured two facilities that help survivors in downtown Atlanta and heard from survivors earlier this year.