(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) announced $500,000 in federal funds for the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment Center for Human Trafficking Survivors (SAFE Center).
Funds come from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking Program and will allow the SAFE Center, in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, to provide housing assistance to survivors of human trafficking in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the need for stable, supportive housing for survivors. Through a thoughtful and trauma-informed approach, the SAFE Center will use these funds to continue helping survivors of human trafficking live independently – permanently. Maryland is fortunate to have the SAFE Center as a resource both to assist survivors and to prevent further trafficking, and we will keep supporting these crucial efforts in Congress,” said the delegation members.
"Stable housing is foundational to human trafficking survivors' ability to rebuild their lives,” said SAFE Center Founder and Director, Susan Esserman. “We feel fortunate to be partnering with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services in a rapid rehousing model to address this urgent housing need. The lack of safe housing is a driver of trafficking, which disproportionately affects Black and immigrant women and girls. We are grateful for the support of the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Task Forces and the congressional delegation on this grant as well as the delegation’s broader efforts to address human trafficking and bring the necessary resources to the state of Maryland.”
The SAFE Center is a comprehensive direct services, research, and advocacy center for sex and labor trafficking survivors.
The DOJ Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking Program aims to support housing assistance for victims of all forms of human trafficking throughout the United States. The grantees will use this award to enroll nine SAFE Center-referred individual human trafficking survivors and six human trafficking survivors with families.