The Department of Justice will be providing over $35 million in grants to victims of human trafficking. The federal funds will be used to provide safe housing.
In an announcement Tuesday at a White House event, presidential adviser and daughter of the president Ivanka Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr explained the necessity of the grants.
Barr said that in addition to supporting groups that assist and house trafficking victims, the Justice Department would do everything they could to fight the "evil scourge" of human trafficking, including investigating, prosecuting, and punishing the traffickers.
In her remarks, Ivanka Trump said the event was a chance to hear the stories of victims and celebrate the administration's and anti-trafficking groups' ongoing work fighting trafficking.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad is critical work,” the first daughter explained, according to the White House.
“DOJ’s grant recipients are on the frontlines of this fight, ensuring that survivors across our country are afforded safe and stable housing and empowered with the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives.”
The money allotted for the grants is coming from the Office for Victims of Crime within the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs and will be shared by 73 organizations in 33 states in order to provide anywhere from six months to two years of transitional or short-term housing assistance, including paying rent, utilities and other related expenses. The DOJ funds can be used for finding long-term housing and acquiring employment and occupational training.
Among the 73 organizations sharing the grants are Camillus House Inc. in Miami, Alternatives for Girls in Detroit, and the Jordan Community Resource Center in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
The announcement of the grants comes as the latest step of the administration amid ongoing efforts to combat the scourge.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department seized and shut down CityXGuide, which was considered the successor to Backpage.com, which was shut down in 2018. The owner of CityXGuide, Wilham Martono, was indicted in June on multiple charges, including promotion of prostitution, reckless disregard of sex trafficking, and interstate racketeering conspiracy.
Martono reportedly gained more than $21 million from several websites promoting prostitution and sex trafficking after registering the domain names for the sites the day after authorities seized Backpage.com, a site that was long known for the facilitation of prostitution and trafficking, including the exploitation of minors.