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On June 1, 2017, over 20 stakeholders joined with Senator Dianne Feinstein to discuss the state of human trafficking in the Central Valley. Feinstein took valuable time out of her Fresno visit to listen to the stories of survivors and was informed on the challenges faced by the region. She was particularly impressed by the collaborative model embraced by victim services and law enforcement to provide intervention and support.

“Today was a really unique meeting, because Fresno seems to have a very unique program,” Feinstein said after the Thursday gathering. “Here, there’s a community-police connection,” said Feinstein.

Fresno EOC, Central Valley Against Human Trafficking Program Manager, Melissa Gomez shared that she is encouraged by Feinstein’s commitment to combat human trafficking. “It is Fresno EOC’s hope that this may draw attention to the specific challenges and needs that the Central Valley faces and the importance of legislation to increase funding for primary prevention, prosecution of offenders, while taking into account the comprehensive needs of victims and survivors.”

Feinstein was visibly moved by what she heard in Fresno. “People here care,” she said. “The spirit and stories and the overcoming I heard in this room. Very special.”

Since 2009, with the formation of Fresno EOC’s Central Valley Against Human Trafficking Project, the Central Valley Freedom Coalition, and the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce lead by Fresno Police Department, over 480 victims of human trafficking have been identified and connected to services in a six county-region including Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties. Senator Feinstein applauded the collaboration and has committed herself as an advocate to rally support and sponsor legislation which will positively impact our region, the state of California and the nation.

To read more about Senator Feinstein’s visit and the state of human trafficking in the Central Valley click here.


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