U.S. Attorney Lelling Announces Grant Award to Provide Housing to Victims of Human Trafficking in Massachusetts
(STL.News) – United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced today that the YWCA Central Massachusetts received over $370,000 from the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs 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 William P. 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.”
“Doing justice means supporting the survivors of human trafficking, not just prosecuting the criminals who victimize them,” said United States Attorney Lelling. “The YWCA Central Massachusetts is doing righteous work by equipping survivors with the resources and help they need to rebuild their lives.”
The grant will provide six to 24 months of transitional or short-term housing assistance to the 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 YWCA Central Massachusetts is among 73 organizations receiving more than $35 million in grants from the Office for Victims of Crime to support housing services for human trafficking survivors.
“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.”
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 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.