HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Delegation members from all over Maryland secured federal funding this week to combat a growing issue in the United States.
Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin alongside the seven Democratic congressmen were awarded $1 million dollars in federal funding to aid survivors of human trafficking. Senators Van Hollen and Cardin worked with Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume to secure funds for the Salvation Army’s Next Step Program for Victims of Human Trafficking. The senators simultaneously worked with Congressmen Steny Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone to secure funds for the the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment Center or SAFE Center.
This money will be split equally between the Salvation Army and the SAFE Center which works in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
“Anyone who has spoken to victims of sex trafficking or labour trafficking knows what an awful thing that is to happen to any human being. We need to provide places of refuge so these individuals, when they escape, have a chance to rebuild their lives.Senator Chris Van Hollen
The funds will be used to provide temporary housing assistance for up to two years and will also provide other wraparound services like job training to help survivors heal and restart their lives.
Senator Van Hollen also highlighted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Maryland’s position in the I-95 corridor, the state has unfortunately seen an increase in human trafficking.
“It’s essential that we protect these individuals who have been victims of either sex trafficking or labour trafficking and help them escape from their captors but then provide them with some safe footing. And that means a temporary secure place to land as they rebuild their lives.”