The U.S. Justice Department awarded six grants totaling $4.5 million to Minnesota organizations combating human trafficking.

Recipients include the Regents of the University of Minnesota, the Link, the Minnesota Department of Health, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities and the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition.

Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald has identified the scourge of human trafficking as a priority since taking office last year. The funding will go toward "culturally appropriate and tailored programming" to strengthen policy and bolster resources, according to a news release from MacDonald's office. The office also released a new public service announcement urging trafficking victims or members of the public to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Andy Mannix