FBI Honors Covenant House New Orleans

FBI Director Christopher Wray presented Jennifer Paul Ray with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.

On Friday May 5, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented Jennifer Paul Ray, Covenant House New Orleans Coordinator for the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force, with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.

Jennifer leads a team of more than 85 member organizations of the Task Force from different sectors including law enforcement, social services, legal services, and research institutions. In her role, Jennifer hosts training for community members, conducts outreach activities, and provides services to survivors of human trafficking.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Jennifer. “I must say it was also a complete surprise, because the Task Force is such a true team effort. I accept this on behalf of the exemplary professionals who partner with us. 

“Covenant House provides a wide array of services, but no organization can do this work alone,” said Jennifer. “Having such a dedicated, diverse group of service providers means we can refer each individual to the program that best suits their needs. For example, if a survivor comes to Covenant House who is older than the population we serve, I can refer them to another partner in the Task Force. In this way, we can ensure that survivors of human trafficking get the best support we can offer, which is what drives me in this work every day.”

Jennifer emphasized that law enforcement is vital to the human trafficking response. “The work of the Task Force ensures victims are supported through a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach, this is how the Task Force makes such a positive, direct impact. I also want to acknowledge Rheneisha Robertson, our Covenant House New Orleans executive director, for her leadership and her support of the Task Force. We are all a united voice and we have so much more to do.”

During the ceremony, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the recipients, “Like the 38,000 employees of the FBI, you don’t do what you do for fame - and certainly not for fortune. You do it out of kindness, out of compassion for others, out of a hope and a dream for safer leave your towns and cities better places than when you got there.”  

“The FBI appreciates the passion and diligence shown in Ms. Ray’s work on behalf of vulnerable young people in the New Orleans area,” added Douglas A. Williams, Special Agent in Charge of FBI New Orleans. “Human trafficking is an issue that cannot be addressed by law enforcement alone. We thank Ms. Ray for being a very valuable partner in this fight.”

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