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SPD wins grant to support rescue efforts of sexually exploited children

Today the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) announced that it will fund Seattle Police Department’s grant proposal titled Operational Strategies to Protect and Rescue Exploited Children (OSPREY).  The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has been a top priority for SPD.  Last year alone 81 victims were recovered through collaborative operations and proactive investigations.

“Our Police Department is committed to rescuing children who, through fear, deception or coercion have been forced into a life of exploitation and degradation. I commend our force for their leadership and thank the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for their financial support,” said Mayor Mike McGinn.

“Combating commercial sexual exploitation of children in our community is a top department priority.  We will leverage the full resources of local, state, and federal governments, as well as community groups and non-governmental organizations to rescue children and hold those responsible for their victimization accountable,” says Chief of Police John Diaz.

With this grant, the department seeks to accomplish the below four objectives:

1.      Identify victims of CSEC through a coordinated response by law enforcement, probation and child service providers;

2.      Increase the safety and support of CSEC victims so they are willing to work with the criminal justice system and assist in the investigation and prosecution of exploiters;

3.      Increase the level of services available to restore victim of CSEC through long-term care services;

4.      Educate police and child-serving professionals to provide a continuum of care which combines criminal case management with restorative services, including, but not limited to, long-term case management, intensive counseling, shelter, education and life skills training.

The $292,000 award will fund one full time civilian position over a 24 month period and costs associated with training, overtime and equipment.