By Submitted Story on November 22, 2022
For the past two years, Outer Banks Hotline, Inc., Dare County’s local domestic abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking crisis intervention and prevention center, in partnership with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office have worked to provide community outreach, awareness and prosecution of human trafficking.
Only 15 Human Trafficking Joint Task Force grants were awarded across the United States. The submission from the Outer Banks Hotline and Dare County partnership was one of the 15 grants awarded and received a combined total of $860,818.00 to be distributed over a three-year period. Dare County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $416,354 and Outer Banks Hotline $444,464. Additionally, each agency is required to contribute 25% in matching funds, bringing the total amount of funding to $1,076,025 to combat the human trafficking problem that exists in Dare County.
“It is a privilege for Outer Banks Hotline to be part of only four joint task forces awarded on the East Coast,” said Bronwyn Thornton, Executive Director of Outer Banks Hotline. “That privilege comes with a heavy responsibility to make sure we use these funds to make a difference”.
The task force will stretch beyond Dare County to include efforts across Camden, Currituck, and Pasquotank and will operate as the North Carolina Eastern Region Human Trafficking Task Force. According to 2020-2021 statistics published by the North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement, there were 368 documented human trafficking victims who were identified through sexual assault programs, and 218 were in rural counties.
North Carolina is currently ranked 9th in the United States for human trafficking, and consistently ranks in the nation’s top 10 states where human trafficking occurs. Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It is modern day slavery. All sexes (the overwhelming majority are women), ages (the majority are adult age 18 or older) and nationalities are represented in human trafficking survivors.
For more information regarding this article or the local effort to fight and prevent human trafficking, contact Outer Banks Hotline at 252-473-5121. The Dare County Sheriff’s Office also has a 24/7 tip line: 252-475-5982.