Joint Statement on COVID-19 Supplemental Funding
As anti-trafficking advocates mobilize to support their clients and those most vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation during this unprecedented global health crisis, we urge policymakers to prioritize critical supplemental funding requests, including those for direct services, and further ranging policy recommendations to protect the most vulnerable with a focus on human trafficking.
In 2019, the Polaris-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline identified more than 22,300 sex and labor trafficking victims in every state and territory across the United States. Under normal circumstances, as many as 25 million individuals are trafficked every year, many across international borders, according to the U.S. government’s conservative estimates.
However, we are operating under anything but what may be considered “normal” at this time. Ensuring that supplemental funding and resources are appropriated to programs and services designed to address the needs and pressing realities of trafficked adults and children will protect these marginalized individuals from traffickers and further sexual violence and severe labor exploitation.
- Communities across the country, including New York City, Southern California, Central Minnesota, Cleveland, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, are witnessing how COVID-19 has directly impacted and exacerbated conditions for trafficked individuals.
- Victims are more easily controlled by traffickers who commonly restrict movement.
- Vulnerable individuals are at heightened risk to be recruited into trafficking because of increasing financial insecurity in the United States and globally, and many, including undocumented immigrants, have been entirely shut out of newly established social safety nets under the CARES Act.
- Underlying vulnerabilities, including financial instability, housing insecurity, lack of social safety supports, tenuous immigration status, and language barriers will continue to disproportionately impact trafficking victims as a result of COVID-19 in the immediate and long term.
ATEST, Freedom Network USA and our allies listed below urge congressional leaders to appropriate COVID-19 related supplemental funding to direct victims’ services in the amount of $200 million for existing trafficking grantees and administered through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Trafficking in Persons.
Our collective recommendations represent and stress the importance of protecting vulnerable trafficked individuals through time-tested policy and practice responses.
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery in the U.S. and around the world. ATEST is comprised of the following organizations:
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Free the Slaves
Human Trafficking Institute
National Network for Youth (NN4Y)
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Vital Voices Global Partnership
Freedom Network USA (FNUSA), established in 2001, is a coalition of 68 non-governmental organizations and individuals that provide services to, and advocate for the rights of, trafficking survivors in the United States. As the largest network of providers working directly with trafficking survivors in the US, we are uniquely situated to evaluate the impact of U.S. government efforts to address human trafficking, identify challenges, and propose solutions. https://freedomnetworkusa.org/
Allies who join ATEST and Freedom Network USA in this statement:
Address Confidentiality Program
Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
Anchored Hope Therapy
Church Women United in New York State
Community Violence Solutions
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Congregation of St. Joseph
Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
FAIR Girls, Inc.
Humanity United Action
Justice in Motion
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Lo’Rosa Hair Studio
Mark Lagon, former U.S. Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Georgetown University
Maternal and Child Health Access
Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
Mosaic Family Services
My Life My Choice
NC Stop Human Trafficking
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
1000 Women Trust Sout Africa
Pax World Funds
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Religious Sisters of Charity
School Sisters of Notre Dame, CP JPIC Office
Survivors’ Network (SN), Cameroon/Africa
Tahirih Justice Center
The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute
The Episcopal Church (DFMS)
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
ATEST MEDIA CONTACT:
Terry FitzPatrick, Communications and Advocacy Director, Free the Slaves
E: email@example.com | P: 571-282-9913
FREEDOM NETWORK USA CONTACT:
Executive Director Jean Bruggeman
 ATEST and FNUSA advocate for both domestic and international anti-trafficking supplemental funding in our April 2020 joint statement: