The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of over $2 million in grants to state and local organizations to identify and help victims of human trafficking.
The funds are part of the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program, whose purpose is to enhance anti-trafficking efforts in the U.S. by building regional capacity for the identification and service of victims. The grantees are responsible for maintaining an anti-human trafficking coalition in their region, conducting public awareness activities and providing training and technical assistance on human trafficking issues to local organizations.
Free for Life Ministries (now Free for Life International), an international human trafficking non-profit organization, based out of Franklin, TN, was one of 12 organizations nationwide to be awarded grant money from HHS, under the Rescue and Restore program. Free for Life Ministries will be facilitating the distribution of $100,000 to seven local Nashville organizations who will work to implement new anti-human trafficking programs throughout the Middle Tennessee area. These seven local organizations are: Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship Peniel Initiative (IMFP), Not For Sale Campaign, Nashville Law Enforcement, Doctors At War, Bird Of Prey Filmwerks, Free for Life En Acción, and Free for Life Ministries. The IMFP will focus on education and outreach training to faith-based and community leaders, as well as after-school program staff. The Not For Sale Campaign will be creating a volunteer pool for the Nashville Rescue and Restore Coalition and increasing trafficking awareness among community groups. Nashville Law Enforcement is planning officer trainings throughout middle Tennessee in order to educate police officers and others on human trafficking. Doctors At War will be creating an Emergency Multilingual Phrasebook to be placed in every emergency department in the state of Tennessee to assist healthcare providers in the recognition of victims of human trafficking. Bird of Prey Filmwerks will produce a number of Public Service Announcements that will provide education to the public on trafficking. Free for Life En Acción will be working to provide outreach and education to the Hispanic community.
“The epidemic of buying and selling human beings simply cannot continue,” said Colette Bercu, Executive Director of Free for Life Ministries. “The funds we have been awarded will strengthen our efforts in middle Tennessee to reach victims and provide the services they need to rebuild their lives.”
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 designated HHS as the agency responsible for helping victims of human trafficking become eligible for federally funded benefits and services. As part of this effort, HHS initiated the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign, a multi-faceted effort to address this issue.