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August 07, 2020

Federal dollars awarded for human trafficking survivors in Montgomery County

Credit: Montgomery Community Media, Suzanne Pollak

The University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, which aids survivors of human trafficking in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, was awarded $500,000 in federal funding.

The SAFE Center operates in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to provide housing assistance to survivors of human trafficking.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the need for stable, supportive housing for survivors,” according to U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin, John Sarbanes, Steny Hoyer and David Trone.

“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,” the Maryland legislators wrote in a news release.

“Stable housing is foundational to human trafficking survivors’ ability to rebuild their lives,” said SAFE Center Founder and Director Susan Esserman. “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,” she wrote in a news release.

The SAFE Center is involved with direct services, research and advocacy for sex and labor trafficking survivors.