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Erie County awarded federal grant to halt human trafficking

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By WBFO News

Buffalo, NY – United States Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday announced a $500,000 grant for the Erie County Sheriff's Office to support efforts to combat human trafficking.

The money will support a joint initiative with the International Institute of Buffalo, the U.S. Attorney's office and a regional task force to prevent human trafficking.

They are developing a comprehensive strategy against human trafficking in all forms. The competitive federal grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Amy Fleischauer, Director of Victim Services with the International Institute of Buffalo said, "We are ecstatic. This award will allow the International Institute of Buffalo to expand our efforts to work with all victims of human trafficking in Western New York, foreign born and native born.

She added,"we also will be able to continue to work with our partner, Farmworker Legal Services of New York, on cases of agricultural trafficking in this half of the State. Identifying and assisting victims of trafficking on farms - who are often hidden from sight - is a developing area of the field and is critical for informing national human trafficking policy."

Earlier this year, Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging his support for Erie County's efforts to prevent human trafficking and assist victims.