Today, Wednesday, February 9, 2022, county and federal officials announced the formation of a new task force directed at curbing sex and labor trafficking in Lake County.
The Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force will be directed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and will consist of a collaboration between prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers. The task force will be funded by a Department of Justice (DOJ) Grant to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and victim-service organization, A Safe Place.
To explain the new task force at a press conference, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart was joined by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John Lausch, A Safe Place CEO, Pat Davenport, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, North Chicago Police Chief Laz Perez, Douglas Goodwater, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for the FBI, Richard Fitzgerald, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for Homeland Security Investigations.
“Traffickers who would threaten, exploit, and abuse others for their own profit will be caught and brought to justice because of this task force,” State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Lake County is the first county in Illinois, outside of Cook, to secure this extremely competitive grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (a division of the DOJ), which will provide $750,000 over 3 years to the State’s Attorney’s Office, and $750,000 to A Safe Place. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and A Safe Place were one of only six applicants that received the OVC FY 2021 Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking grant.
A Safe Place is the only organization in Lake County that provides services exclusively for domestic violence and human trafficking. A Safe Place will utilize their grant funds to enhance victim support by hiring three victim support professionals.
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