Project FIGHT (Freeing Individuals Gripped by Human Trafficking) provides comprehensive case management for victims of human trafficking found in North Carolina, and works to generate education and awareness about human trafficking in the community. Project FIGHT is also the leader of the Rapid Response Team of the Triangle, where they collaborate efforts amongst service providers including law enforcement, legal aid, and medical/mental health providers. Project FIGHT works with these agencies to connect clients with basic needs, mental health assessments, education, employment, housing, and other resources. Since its inception in 2011, Project FIGHT has seen over 140 cases of human trafficking in North Carolina. On January 9, 2015, the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission presented Project FIGHT with the Survivor Care Award. In 2016, the program expanded its statewide effort to include five different locations across North Carolina.
In 2011, Project FIGHT was birthed in North Carolina with the goal of bringing freedom to individuals gripped by human trafficking across the state of North Carolina. Project FIGHT strategically targets 4 major components in order to effectively combat the varying and unique issues surrounding human trafficking: Education/Awareness, Outreach, Case Management, and Collaboration.
Project FIGHT initially began the case management program through Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Federal funding as a sub-grantee of NC CASA (The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault). Through this grant, Project FIGHT was able to hire two full-time case managers to begin working on cases in the Triangle Area and beyond. The program was given a target of serving 12 victims over the course of two years. Project FIGHT served 12 victims in the first few months alone, and noticed that the need for human trafficking victim services was much greater than originally anticipated and spanned across the state. Due to the funding requirements, Project FIGHT began serving mostly foreign born clients, but as one of the few case management programs in the state, they received calls to serve domestic victims as well. The need to expand to serve all victims of human trafficking was evident. Each year, the number of victim referrals grew and as the 2011 OVC grant came to a close, Project FIGHT searched for additional sources of funding to expand the program and address the gap in services.
In April 2014 Project FIGHT was awarded the Governor’s Crime Commission Grant which provides funding for one case manager, some emergency shelter housing, Client transportation costs, food, clothing, and other services for all victims in NC. Project FIGHTs reach and number of cases has increased throughout North Carolina. In the spring of 2014, a new position was established for a Project FIGHT Program Coordinator, to coordinate Project FIGHT’s collaborative efforts in identification of victims and services for victim. The position was filled in August of 2014.
Since September of 2014, with a grant from the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, Project FIGHT expanded and enhanced Project FIGHT’s statewide efforts with the addition of case managers and additional funding to meet housing and other service needs for clients. After working with OVC on grant revisions and meeting their special provisions, Project FIGHT’s new case managers and enhanced statewide program began in March 2015. This grant funds a case manager in Raleigh, adds case managers in The Salvation Army New Bern and Salisbury locations, and provides the opportunity for Project FIGHT to begin a Supportive Housing Program / funding for other client service needs. At that time, The Project FIGHT Program consisted of the Project FIGHT Coordinator supervising four case managers in Raleigh (2), New Bern (1) and Salisbury (1) Salvation Army locations. The Project FIGHT Program has been provided the opportunity to develop collaborative statewide efforts to identify victims and build effective comprehensive case management and services to more victims of human trafficking.
In January of 2016, the Salisbury position was moved to Charlotte Area Command. As of October 2016 under GCC funding, a Lead Case Manager in Raleigh and case managers in both Asheville and Greenville were added to the Project FIGHT program.
View video below to learn more about the FIGHT against human trafficking: