U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur of the District of Maryland Tuesday announced Maryland has received $999,990 from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and its component, the Office for Victims of Crime, to provide safe, stable housing and appropriate services to victims of human trafficking.
The grant, awarded to the Salvation Army and the University of Maryland SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, will 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 grant will also provide funding for support needed to help victims locate permanent housing, secure employment, as well as occupational training and counseling. The Salvation Army and the University of Maryland SAFE Center are among 73 organizations nationwide receiving more than $35 million in OVC grants 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 reflect. A new report issued by the National Institute of Justice, another component of the Office of Justice Programs, 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.
The Office for Victims of Crime, for example, 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.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.