In a news conference on Tuesday, November 20th at the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Denver DA Beth McCann was joined by Harry Budisidharta, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC), U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips, Denver Deputy Police Chief Barb Archer, and Denver City Councilman Paul Kashmann to announce the award of a three-year, $979,747 grant from the U.S. Justice Department to the Denver District Attorney’s Office and the Asian Pacific Development Center to combat human trafficking.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded more than $67 million in grant funding in October to ‘support state, local and tribal jurisdictions’ efforts to protect human trafficking victims, prosecute those who commit trafficking crimes and support coordinated community responses to human trafficking throughout the United States’. The Denver District Attorney’s Office and APDC applied in July 2018 for one of these grants, which was awarded on September 28, 2018. The U.S. Attorney’s Office-Colorado and the FBI Denver Regional Office were named as supporting federal partners in the grant application.
The million dollar grant will be used to enhance the work of the Denver Anti-Trafficking Alliance (DATA), a multi-disciplinary Denver-area human trafficking task force. The grant provides for an expansion of current efforts to identify victims of labor and sex trafficking, provide victim services and case management, and for expanded collaborative efforts with the Denver Police Department, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution of cases in Denver.
Under the grant, the Denver DA’s Office will serve as the lead law enforcement agency and APDC will be the lead community-based victim services agency. Additional staff in these two offices will be partially funded through the grant.
The Asian Pacific Development Center is a statewide community based organization that operates a variety of programs, including the Victim Assistance Department. The Victim Assistance Department at APDC provides linguistically and culturally appropriate direct services and case management for all victims of crime, including human trafficking, regardless of a victim’s age, gender, ethnicity, race, or religious affiliation. Utilizing an integrated system of care model, the Victim Assistance Department engages a victim-centric and trauma-informed approach to address whole-person and whole-community health for victims of crime.
The Denver Anti-Trafficking Alliance (DATA) is a collaborative task force housed in and supported by the Denver District Attorney’s Office. DATA works to create a victim-centered, multi-disciplinary response to human trafficking in Denver through coordinated victim services, collaborative investigation and prosecution, education and awareness, and public policy and advocacy efforts. DATA participants include law enforcement, advocacy and awareness organizations, government service agencies, victim assistance organizations, mental health professionals, medical personnel, and community-based organizations.