WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded a $500,000 grant to Cincinnati Union Bethel through its Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking program. The funding will help 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. In 2019, Brown wrote a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Attorney General William Barr demanding the release of these funds after the Trump Administration had abruptly and inexplicably withdrawn their joint Notice of Grant Funding (NOFA) for these specialized housing and services for victims of human trafficking grants. DOJ subsequently resumed this grant competition.

“We have a collective responsibility to protect and support survivors of trafficking and the first step to do that is to ensure that organizations like Cincinnati Union Bethel have the resources to help survivors access services to rebuild their lives,” said Brown. “This award is a testament to the work happening in Ohio to fight this heinous crime.

Brown has long fought for legislation to eliminate human trafficking.

In May, Brown joined colleagues in introducing legislation to confront online child exploitation and reverse a decade of underfunding key enforcement and prevention efforts. Brown’s legislation, the Invest in Child Safety Act, would direct $5 billion in mandatory funding to investigate and target the pedophiles and abusers who create and share child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online, increasing support for Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces and other entities working to locate missing and exploited children. It would also create a new White House office to coordinate efforts across federal agencies, after DOJ refused to comply with a 2008 law requiring coordination and reporting of those efforts. And it also directs substantial new funding for community-based efforts to prevent children from becoming victims in the first place. 

Last year, the President signed into law a spending package that included key wins to combat human trafficking in Ohio that Brown helped secure. Brown helped secure $37 million that would fund expanded research into human trafficking victims and perpetrators. Brown has long been an advocate on this issue and reintroduced bipartisan legislation this year to crack down on addiction-driven human trafficking. His Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act would specifically address the use of drugs to facilitate human trafficking and protect vulnerable victims of trafficking.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Report missing children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).