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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez Announces Over $2.8 Million In Awards To Combat Human Trafficking In Middle District Of Florida

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez today announced that the Middle District of Florida has received $2,879,856 from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, through its component, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), to fund efforts that combat human trafficking and provide vital services to trafficking victims throughout the United States.

“The scourge of human trafficking is the modern-day equivalent of slavery, brutally depriving victims of basic human rights and essential physical needs as it erodes their sense of dignity and self-worth,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The Department of Justice is relentless in its fight against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.  Working with state and local law enforcement and community victim service providers, we will continue to bring these criminals to justice and deliver critical aid to survivors.”

“These awards will assist our partners as they continue the critically important work of rescuing, recovering, and assisting victims of the heinous crime of human trafficking reclaim their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “We will continue to aggressively go after the perpetrators of these horrible crimes and support our partners and the victims, in every way possible.” 

Nationally, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded over $97.4 million to state, local and tribal jurisdictions, service providers and task forces all over the country, while OJP’s National Institute of Justice awarded the remaining $3.5 million to support research and evaluation on human trafficking. Awards were made to the following recipients to support efforts that combat human trafficking and/or provide services for human trafficking survivors:

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.                              $500,000                                                                                                      
Citrus Health Network, Inc.  $499,995
United Way of Pasco County, Inc.     $498,000
Goodwill Industries – Suncoast, Inc.     $349,895
Latisha’s Home Foundation Florida, LLC $350,000
Living Above the Noise, Inc.  $681,966

“Human trafficking is a massive global enterprise with roots in cities and communities here in America and across the world,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “The Office of Justice Programs is using all the resources at its disposal to help our state, local and tribal partners uncover and eradicate trafficking operations and help victims open the door to a new life.”


Grants awarded under fiscal year (FY) 2020 OVC programs aim to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to survivors of human trafficking. Specific programs:


  • The Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking program awards over $22.7 million total.  OVC awards over $17.7 million to 27 programs to support the effectiveness of collaborative and multidisciplinary task forces to combat human trafficking.  The purpose of this program is to develop and strengthen programs for victims of human trafficking, including enhancing the capacity of law enforcement and other stakeholders to identify victims and provide justice for those victims through the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers.  OVC also awards nearly $5 million in grants to three organizations for training and technical assistance for the task forces. 


  • The Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking program awards over $35.1 million total to 73 organizations to 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 grants will also provide funding to help victims locate permanent housing, secure employment and receive occupational training and counseling.


  • The Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking program awards over $4.2 million total to four recipients to integrate human trafficking policy and programming at the state or tribal level.  This program will enhance coordinated, multidisciplinary and statewide approaches to at-risk populations to improve outcomes for children and youth who are victims of human trafficking.


  • The Preventing Trafficking of Girls program awards $1.8 million total to four organizations, including a training and technical assistance provider, to support prevention and early intervention services, including mentoring and other direct support services for girls who are at risk of or are victims of sex trafficking.


  • The Services for Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking program gives over $6.8 million to four recipients to develop, expand and strengthen assistance programs for minor victims of sex trafficking.  Under this program, the funded states, tribes, and units of local government will provide (directly and through partnerships) an array of services that minor victims of human trafficking often require to address their need for safety, security, and healing.


  • The Services for Minor Victims of Labor Trafficking program awards nearly $2 million total to three organizations to develop, expand, or strengthen victim service programs for minor victims of labor trafficking whose victimization occurred when they were under the age of 18.


  • The Services for Victims of Human Trafficking program awards more than $23.6 million to 43 organizations to support services specific to victims of human trafficking.


  • The Specialized Training and Technical Assistance on Housing for Victims of Human Trafficking program awards $643,163 total to deliver specialized training and technical assistance to victim service organizations to enhance their ability to provide appropriate housing for victims of human trafficking.


  • OVC awards the Promoting Employment Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Project continuation funding in the amount of $300,000 to increase access to quality educational and employment opportunities for survivors of human trafficking.


Grants awarded under FY 2020 NIJ programs aim to understand law enforcement practices with regard to preventing and responding to victims of trafficking. Specific programs:


  • The Research and Evaluation of Trafficking in Persons program awards over $2.5 million total to four organizations to build upon research and evaluation efforts to better understand, prevent and respond to trafficking in persons in the United States.


  • The Research on Law Enforcement Responses to Sex Trafficking of Minors program awards nearly $1 million to understand how law enforcement practices with regard to preventing and responding to the sex trafficking of minors have evolved since passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.  NIJ was specifically interested in understanding how widely law enforcement agencies have adopted practices based on the perspective that the minor is a victim rather than a delinquent and the challenges that agencies have faced in adopting such practices.


For a complete list of individual grant programs, award amounts, and jurisdictions that will receive funding, visit: More information about OJP and its components can be found at

The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, 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. More information about OJP and its components can be found at



Updated September 29, 2020

Human Trafficking