JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced the application period for the first distributions from the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Fund opened on November 1, 2022.

According to Fitch, as much as $2.5 million will be available for organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking.

“An estimated 40.3 million people are currently being trafficked for forced labor or sex around the world,” said Fitch, “including right here in Mississippi. There are few crimes that rob a person of their very humanity and dignity like human trafficking. These funds will help these victims begin to piece their lives back together and make their way to becoming survivors.”

The Legislature created the Fund through HB 1559 during the 2020 Legislative Session to provide funding to direct service providers for trafficking victims throughout Mississippi.

By statute, funding comes from assessments for convictions of certain crimes, donations, and legislative appropriations. 

In 2022, the Fund received its first donation from the River of Pearls Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Additionally, during the 2022 Legislative Session, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated $2.5 million dollars to the Fund.

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on November 23, 2022. Funding decisions will be announced in December.