WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that Sarasota-based nonprofit Selah Freedom has been awarded more than $750,000 by the Department of Justice to support victims of human trafficking. Selah Freedom is a leading national anti-sex trafficking organization “with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited.”
“Human trafficking is a vile and monstrous crime against women and children,” Buchanan said. “This funding will be especially impactful in a state like Florida, a hub for human trafficking. I will continue to work with organizations like Selah Freedom to end this vile form of modern-day slavery.”
Elizabeth Fisher, the founder of Selah Freedom has said that the Suncoast region is a “hotbed” for trafficking and that the organization is seeing the number of young women being rescued and receiving services triple annually.
Reps. Buchanan and Alcee Hastings recently introduced The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act, which would create a grant program within the Office of Trafficking in Persons, under the Department of Health and Human Services, to provide training for students, teachers and other school personnel on the warning signs of human trafficking. The bill is endorsed by several human trafficking prevention groups, including Selah Way Foundation.
Last Congress, Buchanan and Hastings chaired a Florida congressional delegation meeting that focused on human trafficking. The delegation heard from several experts from Florida on the subject and discussed the need for greater awareness and training.