Thank you for being here. The scourge of human trafficking is the modern-day equivalent of slavery. Eradicating this horrific crime and helping its victims are top priorities for President Trump’s Administration, including the Department of Justice. I thank the President for his steadfast commitment to this issue, and I thank Ivanka for her leadership and for hosting us today. I also thank all the survivors and their advocates here for their courage and determination to end this evil practice.
In late January, a number of us were here for the White House Summit on Human Trafficking. We noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a law that has enabled great progress in this fight. I promised that the Justice Department would do everything in its power to stop human traffickers and to help survivors. And today I am pleased to announce an important step in keeping that promise.
The Justice Department is awarding more than 35 million dollars in grants to support housing for victims of human trafficking, the largest-ever federal investment of its kind. These funds will help 73 organizations in 34 States to fill an urgent need of trafficking victims. When survivors are liberated from the nightmare of trafficking, they often face a new challenge – they have nowhere to live. Tragically, the trauma of trafficking can give way to new dangers caused by homelessness and can even result in a re-victimization by predators.
No one should have to endure that heartbreak. Thanks to the funds awarded today – and to the devoted organizations, including many faith-based organizations, using them – survivors of human trafficking will be able to count on a safe place to stay and a real chance to restart their lives. The funds will support multiple forms of short-term housing assistance, including helping survivors make rent payments, cover utility bills or security deposits, or pay moving expenses. The three inspiring organizations represented here today will use their grants to help more than 100 people, and the total number helped across the country will be in the thousands.
These grants, the first-ever federal program dedicated exclusively to providing housing for survivors of human trafficking, are part of approximately 100 million dollars in total grants that the department anticipates awarding this year to combat human trafficking. Aside from financial support, the department will continue to use the full force of our law enforcement resources to investigate, prosecute, and punish the people behind this cruel and criminal scourge. I thank all of you for your commitment to this righteous cause, and I look forward to hearing more today.