Barr, Ivanka Trump announce $100 million in federal grants to fight human trafficking

©TheAtlantaJournalConstitution

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

ATLANTA — U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Ivanka Trump visited Atlanta on Monday to announce more than $100 million in federal grants for combating human trafficking across the nation, calling it a criminal scourge that must be stamped out.

The announcement came on the same day Barr labeled New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon anarchic cities, part of the Trump administration’s threat to cut off federal grants to municipalities that are “permitting violence, anarchy and destruction” amid the nationwide protests for racial justice.

Barr’s actions are in keeping with President Donald Trump’s law-and-order campaign theme. Recent polls show a tight race between him and former Vice President Joe Biden in Georgia, and Republicans worry Trump would have no clear path to victory if he loses the Peach State.

Trump’s son Eric shared the stage last week with evangelical pastors in Atlanta’s northern suburbs to tout his father’s campaign. A day earlier, Dr. Jill Biden “virtually” traveled to Georgia to talk about her husband’s plan to help military veterans.

Speaking at the U.S. attorney’s office in downtown Atlanta, Barr said the federal grants he announced would support local, tribal and state jurisdictions, services for victims and research programs.

“Aside from financial support,” Barr said, “the Justice Department will continue to use the full force of the law and our enforcement resources to investigate, prosecute and punish the people behind this criminal scourge.”

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, appeared with Barr at a discussion with state and federal law enforcement officials after touring the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, a nonprofit agency.

The president, she said, “is committed to combating this crime, committed to bringing justice to the victims ? to their families ? and committed to holistic healing that is so necessary for the brave survivors.”

She also highlighted “Operation Not Forgotten,” a two-week effort that found 39 missing children in Georgia and resulted in nine arrests last month, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Monday’s discussion also featured Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia first lady Marty Kemp and Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who has created a foundation that is fighting human trafficking.

The Kemps have put efforts to punish sex traffickers at the center of their agenda. In April, the governor signed a trio of related bills into law, and Marty Kemp launched a commission to help victims of the crime and crack down on offenders.

“I can promise you we will stay in the fight to end modern-day slavery,” the governor said, “with all of the folks at this table and those who are not and that are out there working away right now.”

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©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)