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The Louisiana State Capitol.

Louisiana has been awarded a $1.2 million, multi-year grant to beef up efforts to prevent human trafficking through a program that is expected to serve as a model for states throughout the country.

“It’s our mission to develop best practices in Louisiana," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in announcing the grant on Wednesday. “Ultimately what we do here, in a very real sense is going to help thousands and thousands of victims by making sure they don’t become victims.”

The money will go toward establishing the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative, a network of resources to combat juvenile trafficking.

Louisiana is one of only seven states to receive such a grant from DOJ since 2015. It will be implemented over a three year period.

“We’re doing more than anybody else to accurately identify and report these victims,” Edwards said. “That’s why the money is coming to Louisiana.”

Edwards on Wednesday received a report from an advisory commission about additional steps that could be implemented in Louisiana to combat sex and labor trafficking.

“I can’t tell you that Louisiana has a bigger problem than other states our size, but we have a problem that is too big," he said. “It doesn’t do anybody any good to pretend that we don’t have a problem or that the problem is smaller than it is.”

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.