The SJI Board of Directors has established Human Trafficking and the State Courts as a new Priority Investment Area for grant funding. Human Trafficking manifests itself in a variety of court settings, including prostitution and drug cases where the individual may be a trafficking victim, child thieves who are part of trafficker-controlled organizations, and abused and neglected children in a variety of settings. In addition, human trafficking goes beyond immigrants who are in the United States legally or illegally, but also includes U.S. citizens who are victims.
Since 1994, Congress has enacted a series of laws addressing human trafficking, most notably the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). State courts are beginning to see human trafficking cases under state laws, as 47 states have passed criminalization statutes for human trafficking. However, the state courts are finding themselves without the knowledge, expertise, processes, and basic infrastructure needed to address this issue. SJI is interested in future grant applications that address the challenges state courts are facing on this issue. SJI recently announced a request for Concept Papers on Human Trafficking and the State Courts, which are due by November 1, 2012.
The SJI Priority Investment Areas were established in FY 2011 to replace the former Special Interest Categories, and apply to all grant types (i.e. Project, Technical Assistance, and Curriculum Adaptation Grants). SJI encourages all potential grant applicants to consider projects addressing one or more of the Priority Investment Areas.