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ACF Awards Nearly $1 Million to Identify and Support Native American Survivors of Human Trafficking

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), recently awarded nearly $1 million to three community-based organizations that provide case management services to survivors of human trafficking from Native communities. Today’s announcement is part of ACF’s ongoing efforts to support the Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government response to human trafficking, as outlined in the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The Victims of Human Trafficking in Native Communities (VHT-NC) demonstration program, administered by ACF’s Office on Trafficking in Persons, seeks to ensure Native Americans who have experienced human trafficking receive the comprehensive care they need to support their healing and recovery. These new awards coincide with the release of a report by the ACF Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation titled, “Demonstration Grants to Strengthen the Response to Victims of Human Trafficking in Native Communities (VHT-NC) Program: Interim Report,” which provides an evaluation summary of and key findings from the first two years of the original VHT-NC program recipients. The report describes human trafficking within the VHT-VC communities, project design, partnerships and services. “Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by human trafficking due to economic instability, intergenerational trauma, displacement and disconnection from culture and community, and historical and ongoing discriminatory practices,” said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary Jeff Hild. “We are committed to responding to and preventing future victimization of indigenous peoples and communities through services that are culturally appropriate and responsive to the unique needs of those communities.” The VHT-NC program will expand the capacity of organizations and communities to provide culturally responsive care to Native Americans (i.e., American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and/or Pacific Islanders) who have experienced human trafficking. Recipients will promote cultural resilience and provide comprehensive services that incorporate traditional healing and other services tailored to indigenous clients. These comprehensive services include screening, safety planning, health and mental healthcare, housing assistance, employment assistance and support accessing public benefits. In addition, recipients will conduct public awareness and outreach within their local community to increase identification of and support for those in the community who have experienced or are experiencing human trafficking. The VHT-NC program incorporates principles to ensure award recipients develop and deliver services that meet the unique needs of diverse indigenous communities. It is informed by a whole-family approach that focuses intentionally on services and opportunities for clients and immediate family members living within their households. ACF’s Office on Trafficking in Persons encourages recipients to develop community partnerships, engage Native Americans who have experienced trafficking and hire qualified professionals that reflect the communities being served.

“These programs seek to demonstrate effective practices to create opportunities for survivors of human trafficking by funding outreach that is led by and representative of the communities being served, raising public awareness about human trafficking within historical and cultural contexts and incorporating diverse indigenous traditions in the provision of critical services,” said Office on Trafficking in Persons Director Katherine Chon.

The VHT-NC program award recipients are: Alaska Native Justice Center – Anchorage, Alaska – $333,333 Child and Family Service – Ewa Beach, Hawaii – $300,000

YMCA of the North – Minneapolis, Minn. – $331,475


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