Department of Justice Awards Over $35 Million to Provide Housing to Victims of Human Trafficking
(STL.News) – Today, Attorney General William P. Barr and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump announced that the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), has awarded $35,104,338 in grant funding to provide safe, stable housing and appropriate services to victims of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a barbaric criminal enterprise that subjects its victims to unspeakable cruelty and deprives them of the most basic of human needs, none more essential than a safe place to live,” said Attorney General Barr. “Throughout this Administration, the Department of Justice has fought aggressively to bring human traffickers to justice and to deliver critical aid to trafficking survivors. These new resources, announced today, expand on our efforts to offer those who have suffered the shelter and support they need to begin a new and better life.”
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad is critical work. DOJ’s grant recipients are on the frontlines of this fight, ensuring that survivors across our country are afforded safe and stable housing and empowered with the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “I am incredibly honored to join Attorney General Barr to highlight these organizations and their tireless and vital work.”
The grants will go to 73 organizations to provide six to 24 months of transitional or short-term housing assistance for trafficking victims, including rental, utilities or related expenses, such as security deposits and relocation costs. The grants will also provide funding for support needed to help victims locate permanent housing, secure employment, as well as occupational training and counseling.
“Human traffickers dangle the threat of homelessness over those they have entrapped, playing a ruthless game of psychological manipulation that victims are never in a position to win,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These grants will empower survivors on their path to independence and a life of self-sufficiency and hope.”
OVC works to enhance the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies and practices in ways that will promote justice and healing for all victims. OVC strives to uphold the intent of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent authorizations to ensure that all trafficking victims receive support in accessing the services they need.
OVC provides grant funding and training and technical assistance in an effort to develop, expand and strengthen programs for victims of human trafficking. In 2018, OVC hosted listening sessions and roundtable discussions with stakeholders in the field and launched the Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center. From July 2018 through June 2019, 118 OVC human trafficking grantees reported serving 8,375 total clients including confirmed trafficking victims and individuals showing strong indicators of trafficking victimization.
Human trafficking offenses are among the most difficult crimes to identify, and the scope of human trafficking victimization may be much greater than the limited data reflect. A new report issued by the Department’s National Institute of Justice found that the number of human trafficking cases captured in police reports may represent only a fraction of all such cases. Expanding housing and other services to trafficking victims remains a top Justice Department priority.