County Executive Parisi Joins Attorney General Kaul and Project Respect to Announce Funding to Support Survivors of Sex Trafficking
Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined Attorney General Josh Kaul, along with representatives from Project Respect, The Rape Crisis Center, and Dane County Department of Human Services to highlight the increasing prevalence of sex trafficking at home and across the state and country. To help combat this crisis, County Executive Parisi is including $80,000 in his 2020 budget to support Project Respect, which has been a key community partner in advocating for survivors of sex trafficking.
“Sex trafficking is entirely unacceptable and illegal in our community, but it is still pervasive,” said County Executive 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 $80,000 included in County Executive Parisi’s 2020 budget will be used to create a new, full time position for Project Respect that will help with safety planning, crisis intervention, and intensive case management services to juvenile and adult survivors of trafficking. The individual will work to reunite survivors with their families while stabilizing their living situations. The position will also require a 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.
“Thank you to the County Executive for the strength to acknowledge the problem of sex trafficking and the need for specialized human services for survivors of sex trafficking—in our own backyard,” said Jan Miyasaki, Director of Project Respect.
County Executive Parisi chose to include this funding in his 2020 budget after meeting with Attorney General Josh Kaul earlier this year 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 on what they believed was most needed to help address the growing concern of sex trafficking.
“I applaud County Executive Parisi for taking this step to improve support for survivors of human trafficking,” said Attorney General Kaul. “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.”
The National Human Trafficking Hotline was alerted to 134 cases of human trafficking in Wisconsin in 2018—up from 94 instances in 2017. Nearly 11,000 cases were reported across the United States last year, with the organization receiving over 41,000 contacts.
Prior to this announcement, County Executive Parisi created a new, full time position within Dane County’s Neighborhood Intervention Program in his 2019 budget. This individual helps carry out prevention efforts and works directly with individuals who may be targets of sex trafficking behavior.