- Associated Press - Saturday, January 12, 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana is receiving a $1.2 million, three-year federal grant to assist child victims of human trafficking.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime at an event Wednesday. The money will help create the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative, a network of resources to combat juvenile trafficking.

The Democratic governor said human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the state and nation. He and lawmakers have sought to toughen anti-trafficking laws, and Edwards’ office has hosted summits to discuss efforts to combat and respond to human trafficking.

A 2018 report to state lawmakers said Louisiana identified 681 victims of human trafficking that year. The governor’s office said the report showed more than half were juveniles.

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