DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES INITIATIVE TO COMBAT COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced a $1 million award to the Salvation Army and its partners for a new initiative to reduce and eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States. The funding will be used to develop a national, multi-site training and technical assistance program to assist five selected cities in coordinating investigative, prosecutorial and victim service resources.
Today’s announcement was made at the first meeting of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Community Capacity Building Initiative in Chicago, where representatives from federal, state and local organizations gathered to build alliances to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children.
“We are coming together to protect our children through a unique partnership,” said OJP Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield. “This program draws upon the commitment and expertise of law enforcement, prosecutors, community advocates, and most importantly, the victims themselves.”
The two-year cooperative agreement was awarded to the Salvation Army and its primary partners, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), Polaris Project, Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition. The five selected cities are Atlantic City, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Combating the sexual exploitation of children is a major priority of the Department of Justice. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced the Project Safe Childhood initiative. Project Safe Childhood brings together U.S. Attorneys, federal, state and local law enforcement, and non-government organizations to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against our nation’s children. For more information on Project Safe Childhood, please visit the Web site www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP’s American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.