Attorney General Bill Barr notes the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and promises the Justice Department will do everything they can to prevent human trafficking and help survivors. The Justice Department is issuing the largest ever federal investment of this kind, at $35 million going to 73 organizations in 34 states to assist with housing.
Funds will support multiple forms of housing assistance including rent, utilities, vocational education, job training. moving expenses and more. This year the Justice Department expects to award a total of $100 million this year to combat human trafficking.
Ivanka Trump highlights the opening of the second office The Missing and Murdered Cold Case Task Force. She notes that the Trump administration has signed nine pieces of legislation, and has already allocated $70 million for enhanced prosecution and $123 million for supporting state and local governments to combat human trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Hotline says that housing assistance is the most requested service.
Brooke Rollins, acting director of The United States Domestic Policy Council, commits to working closely with the administration to combat human trafficking.
Tenisha Watson, a leader in advocacy for 16 years, accepted the grant for Jordan Community Resource Center in Cleveland, Ohio, shared insight about providing transitional housing and jobs and opportunities for advancement.
Grant money was awarded to Alternatives for Girls, in Detroit Michigan. They are committed to helping homeless girls and women avoid violence and exploitation, explore and access resources, supports and opportunities to grow strong and to make positive choices for their lives. they have served about 6k women in 2019 through street based outreach and other services, collaborating with law enforcement. Services include domestic violence interventions, safety, counseling, and a range of services to runaways and homeless youth, as well as at risk girls.
Helda Fernandez, CEO of Camillus House in Miami reported that the most common referral to the Phoenix Project is through law enforcement, homeland security, the state attorneys office and other state agencies. They work hand in hand with law enforcement to bring traffickers to justice.
Tanya Gould, member of US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and founder of Identifiable Me, was also grateful for the administration for their support of the the Advisory Council. Tanya explained the recommendations in the 2020 report of the Council, including safe housing and the opportunity to heal, calling to prioritize the housing needs of survivors and their children. They also called upon agencies to increase services and assistance to under served and under-reported communities, including minorities and LGBTQ, to promote trauma informed practices and housing assistance initiatives to all survivors of trafficking.