State severs ties with group after leader argued for legal prostitution May 05. 2017  klandrigan@unionleader.com

MANCHESTER — The New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force severed its partnership with its grant administrator, leading to the firing of a project director who advocated the legalization of prostitution.

Acting U.S. Attorney John Farley made the announcement Friday afternoon that the task force was dissolving this relationship and looking for a new group to take over the $1.3 million federal grant.

“The Task Force appreciates the efforts of Give Way to Freedom in helping to secure the federal grant and its dedication to helping human trafficking victims,” Farley said in a statement.

Manchester Deputy Police Chief Carlo Capano said it’s unclear how long it will take to name a new group and fill the position.

“I can’t speak too much to the concerns because it is a personnel matter,” Capano said. “I can say it is just a decision the core group made and we are moving forward to getting a new project director.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader first reported the program’s director, Kate D’Adamo, had presented arguments in favor of decriminalizing prostitution.

Give Way to Freedom is a Vermont-based private, nonprofit organization that contracted with Manchester police and Child and Family Services to facilitate the New Hampshire effort.

Core team members of the task force include the Manchester Police Department, Child and Family Services, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“We’re pleased that the core team will seek new leadership to help implement this grant and we look forward to getting back to the critical work of providing services to victims of sex trafficking,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Moving forward it will be critical to ensure that the new project manager will work to rebuild the public’s faith in this critical project.”

In February, D’Adamo was announced as the program director for the anti-trafficking effort. As the former national policy advocate for the Sex Workers Project, she advocated for the legalization of prostitution.

Task force members confirmed that in March the group resisted efforts by D’Adamo to have members sign confidentiality agreements about the task force’s work.

Then in late March, D’Adamo appeared at Freedom Cafe, a Durham coffee house. When asked about decriminalization of prostitution, D’Adamo discussed it positively, according to two people who attended the event.

Manchester police officials said in response they wanted D’Adamo fired because her personal views violated the federal grant that paid her salary.

According to one of the 41 stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution. The stipulation also prohibits Manchester police from using grant funds to promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution, according to grant paperwork.

klandrigan@unionleader.com

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