(STL.News) – Santa Maria Hostel and Family Time Crisis Center have been awarded $500,000 each to provide safe, stable housing and appropriate services to victims of human trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
“Human trafficking is a scourge,” said Patrick. “Prosecuting the pimps and enablers is sometimes not the hardest part. The support services for the victims can be difficult to find, fund and maintain. Grants like these take care of the victims with a safe space where they can begin to put their life back together.”
The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and its component, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), have issued the grants to provide six to 24 months of transitional or short-term housing assistance for trafficking victims. This includes 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 and occupational training and counseling. Family Time in Humble and Santa Maria Hostel in Houston are among 73 organizations receiving more than a combined $35 million to support housing services for human trafficking survivors.
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 reflects. The National Institute of Justice issued a new report that found 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.
OVC hosted listening sessions and roundtable discussions with stakeholders in the field in 2018 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.