February 22, 2022
The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Human Trafficking Prevention (OHTP) and the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund have awarded a grant to Allies Against Slavery to leverage Lighthouse as a powerful new tool in the state’s data-driven strategy to prevent human trafficking and address the needs of survivors.
“Louisiana is taking a lead in the fight against human trafficking,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “The people of Louisiana deserve it and our children deserve it. As we work together using innovative solutions like Lighthouse, I know that we will drastically reduce the numbers of children and families exposed to this heinous crime.”
Continuing the state’s long-time commitment to address human trafficking, Governor Edwards signed a bill into law creating the OHTP in 2021. The OHTP utilizes a survivor-informed and trauma-informed approach to guide its work, providing leadership and oversight of The Louisiana Human Trafficking Prevention Commission and Advisory Board and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Taskforce.
“The journey of eradicating human trafficking is incumbent on survivors’ voices and supporting the organizations dedicated to this mission,” said Sophia Strother, a survivor and CEO of L2E Industries LLC. “As a board member of Allies Against Slavery and survivor of human trafficking, this collaboration with Allies through Lighthouse is a wonderful way to bridge the gap.”
As a lead governmental agency responsible for implementing the state’s comprehensive strategy, the OHTP works closely with partners through one of its key statewide initiatives, the Louisiana Child and Youth Trafficking Collaborative (LCYTC), to support and resource public-private entities that provide services for human trafficking victims. Funding from the US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime and the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund has accelerated Louisiana’s capacity to protect victims, build a statewide care coordination network, and enhance data collection. Multidisciplinary partners will use Lighthouse to screen youth for trafficking, connect them to the right services, and visualize aggregate data to see and respond to trafficking across the state.
“Human trafficking will not be tolerated in the state of Louisiana,” said Dr. Dana Hunter, the Executive Director of the OHTP. “Lighthouse is an important part of our statewide data-driven strategy to identify victims, coordinate care for survivors, and evaluate trends to prevent exploitation. This partnership enables us to leverage data and technology in exciting new ways to keep our children and citizens safe.”
First deployed in Texas through a partnership with Governor Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team, Lighthouse is demonstrating how states can use data and technology at scale to combat human trafficking. Today Lighthouse is used by over 130 organizations and more than 1,500 field professionals.
“We applaud the leadership of Governor Edwards, and we are honored to partner with the OHTP to bring Lighthouse to Louisiana,” said John Nehme, President and CEO of Allies Against Slavery. “Traffickers use technology to exploit the vulnerable, but Louisiana is using data and technology to save lives. Together we can shine a light that guides people to freedom.”