Southern Arizona Dream Center awarded $50,000 in fight against human trafficking

A southern Arizona charity was recently awarded $50,000 to aid the fight against human trafficking.

The Champion Against Human Trafficking Award was made to the Southern Arizona Dream Center by United to Safeguard America from Illegal Trade, also known as USA-IT, a national coalition led by Philip Morris International. The group is comprised of dozens of national and state brand enforcement experts, law enforcement agencies, academics and leading business organizations leading training programs and raising public awareness of the depth and severity of illegal trade.

The grant was made at a summit convened by USA-IT focused on human trafficking and featured several of the strongest national voices on illicit trade and human trafficking prevention.

“We are humbled and honored to receive the Champion Against Human Trafficking Award to strengthen our mission against human trafficking,” Southern Arizona Dream Center Director Terry Bernier said. “There is a significant need in Southern Arizona for an immediate shelter for trafficking victims. This generous donation will help our organization to establish a safe home to provide a safe refuge and critical services for victims of human trafficking.”

The Southern Arizona Dream Center is one of two Dream Centers working in Arizona to support the homeless, addicted, and trafficked. The Dream Center network represents locations in the United States and abroad, offering a food bank, clothing, and assistance programs to people in need. The centers focus on the full, successful transformation of people’s lives, all free of charge.

“For years, criminals have shamelessly skirted the criminal justice system to support large-scale operations, bringing a relentless cycle of crime into our communities and onto our interstates, including human trafficking,” said Kristin Reif, head of state government affairs for Philip Morris International. “We are proud to contribute to these organizations and support their work in providing justice to the vulnerable.”

“No one government or industry can address this complex problem on its own,” USA-IT spokesperson Alysa Erichs said. Erichs is the former acting executive associate director for Homeland Security Investigations. “And with tens of thousands trafficked in the U.S. every year, we must continue doing more. Only by working together, can we help disband criminal organizations and safeguard our communities from illegal trade and the far-reaching web of crimes it fosters.” More information about USA-IT’s efforts to combat illegal trade can be found at

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