BISMARCK — The chairwoman of the state’s anti-human trafficking task force says victim service programs could be in jeopardy under a funding cut recommended Tuesday, March 28, by a legislative committee.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended reducing funding for human trafficking victim services to $250,000 for 2017-19, half of what the Senate approved and one-fourth the level requested by the Attorney General’s Office.
Committee members cited budget challenges as the need to cut general fund spending.
“I do believe it’s an important program,” said Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington. “I do believe we also have to be cognizant of where we’re at.”
The programs, which received $1.25 million in state funding for 2015-17, served 79 victims in 2016, including 26 minors.
Christina Sambor, chairwoman of FUSE, the anti-human trafficking task force, said programs have leveraged the state dollars to receive federal grants, supporting emergency housing, case managers and other programs.
Without sufficient state funding, the programs may not have enough matching dollars to get future federal grants, Sambor said.
“It can put the whole system in jeopardy, for sure,” she said.
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