The Fairfax County Police Department now will have a dedicated human trafficking unit for the next two years, thanks to a $1 million federal grant that also will help to serve trafficking victims.
Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler, along with Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), announced Friday the $1 million Department of Justice grant award.
Half the award, $500,000, will enable the police department to have one full-time detective and one crime analyst dedicated to addressing human trafficking in Fairfax County.
“Human trafficking involves many crimes, but specifically prostitution and narcotics,” Roessler said. “It also includes victims, and we care about the victims.”
The other half of the award will go to the nonprofit Polaris Project, which will provide services to victims of human trafficking issues in collaboration with the new Fairfax County initiative.
“We are there to provide care to the survivors and we are thrilled to receive this funding from the Department of Justice,” said Polaris Project CEO Bradley Miles. “In both areas, this grant will help to make great strides in combating human trafficking in this area.”
Cuccinelli was on hand in Fairfax County on Friday to announce the awards.
“What we see most of in Virginia is sex trafficking by pimps and gangs,” he said.
According to Cuccinelli, since he has been in office, the commonwealth has obtained 50 human trafficking-related prosecutions, and identified 375 victims. “And we are just scratching the surface,” he added.
Federally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria has successfully prosecuted 24 federal cases against 50 defendants since 2011.
“As a detective on the ground working these types of cases, I can say that this initiative is inspiring,” said Fairfax County Det. Bill Woolf, who will become the county’s full time human trafficking detective.