BACKGROUND ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Victims can be anyone from around the world or right next door: women and men, adults and children, youth and young adults, citizens, and noncitizens. A lack of training, protocols, resources, and policies make it difficult to identify human trafficking victims, limiting agencies' ability to provide services and assist victims in their recovery process. Once victims are identified, they need a spectrum of short-and long-term services, resources, and support to begin their processes of recovery, healing, and re-integration.
As noted in the Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States(September 2013)by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, there is no one common profile for trafficking victims. However, traffickers frequently prey on some of the most vulnerable members of our society. According to the Institute of Medicine (September 2013), the complex and traumatic events experienced by some individuals influence their vulnerability to commercial sexual exploitation or domestic sex trafficking, including histories of child abuse and neglect, homelessness, running away, sexual assault, and exposure to domestic violence. Also, situations such as economic difficulties make unemployed or underemployed individuals vulnerable to labor trafficking. Traffickers make false promises of a better life. Later, they use emotional, physical, and psychological tactics to keep victims under control and manipulation.
In 2000, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the TVPA, (Division A of Pub L.106-386), which has been amended numerous times, most recently in 2015 by the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), Pub. L. 114-22. Under subsection 22 U.S.C 7102 (14), a victim of a severe form of human trafficking is defined as an individual who has been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, which means:
a) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
b) The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
If a person younger than 18 is induced to perform a commercial sex act, it is considered a crime regardless of whether there is any force, fraud, or coercion. Homeless youth who are forced to trade sexual acts with an adult in exchange for something of value (e.g., shelter, food) are considered victims of domestic sex trafficking.
To further address the issue of human trafficking in the United States, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the JVTA, (Pub.L. 114-22). The JVTA aims to provide resources to assist domestic victims of severe forms of trafficking, increase the identification of trafficked victims, and hold traffickers and buyers accountable for their crimes.
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of the DVHT Program is to:
- Increase outreach and awareness, and identify domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking;
- Expand collaboration and partnerships to implement innovative, multi-disciplinary, trauma-informed approaches to serve domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking; and
- Develop, expand, strengthen, coordinate, and oversee the delivery and /or referral of services to domestic victims of severe of human trafficking.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) through FYSB and OTIP intends to increase the availability of services and expand resources for domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking at the community level.
OTIP and FYSB are also interested in decreasing vulnerability to sex and labor trafficking among at-risk populations, including runaway and homeless youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth; and victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, persons with disabilities, and Native American populations. The DVHT Program is also intended to expand outreach, build partnerships, and foster collaborations among multiple services providers (community health care, human services, legal services, etc.) within communities to support these efforts, to build resources and services that meet victims where they are related to their levels of trauma, and to increase awareness and prevention education among at-risk populations.
The DVHT Program has the following objectives:
- Conduct community assessments with the goal to build capacity, create partnerships, and deliver comprehensive, quality services to domestic victims of severe forms of trafficking;
- Develop, strengthen, and expand comprehensive victim-centered services and case management at the community level for domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking;
- Address the immediate and long-term housing and shelter needs of victims through a continuum of flexible housing supports, including emergency and transitional housing;
- Identify, provide, or refer victims to behavioral health and substance abuse treatments services; and
- Integrate survivor engagement in their case management and service delivery strategies for victims.
Eligible applicants under the DVHT Program must be located in high demand areas, including, but not limited to, metropolitan areas, federally recognized tribal communities, and rural areas with minimal services available.
Eligible Beneficiaries of Program Services
By statute, eligible recipients of services funded under the DVHT Program are U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR's) who are victims of severe forms of human trafficking, as defined by the TVPA. This includes adults and minors, regardless of gender (including victims who identify as LGBTQ). While minor victims are not required to be involved in child welfare, juvenile justice, or criminal justice proceedings, or formally identified by law enforcement, DVHT Program recipients are encouraged to establish protocols for working with agencies serving vulnerable minors. Additionally, adults are not required to be identified by law enforcement or involved with criminal justice proceedings to receive services. Please see Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions for more information.
The DVHT Program supports services for domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking who do not currently receive services under other federal and state trafficking services programs, such as the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP) administered by OTIP or the Human Trafficking Victim Services Program administered by the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). This funding is available exclusively for direct services and case management for human trafficking victims who are U.S. Citizens or LPRs. Further, victims (both minors and adults) may not know their status or have access to related documents, or they may have fraudulent documents provided by the trafficker. Some victims may be foreign individuals who arrived with proper documentation, but fell out-of-status when employers or traffickers did not complete paperwork, or they did not give them access to documents to establish LPR status. Finally, domestic victims of trafficking are often identified and apprehended in groups that may include a mixture of U.S. Citizens, LPRs, and foreign individuals. Therefore, programs must assist victims of human trafficking with determining and documenting their eligibility for services. If it is determined that the victim is not a U.S. citizen or LPR, DVHT grant recipients should have protocols in place to provide referrals programs that can address their needs. The DVHT Program must collaborate with other federally supported anti-trafficking programs in their service area (e.g. the Department of Health and Human Services' Trafficking Victim Assistance Program and the Department of Justice's Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative, etc.) to the extent possible to maximize their efforts. DVHT grantees will also be actively involved with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center/National Human Trafficking Hotline and will become embedded in their network of supports and resources.
Please see Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions for more information.
See related guidance in Final Specification of Community Programs Necessary for Protection of Life or Safety Under Welfare Reform Legislation, Attorney General Order No. 2353-2001, 66 Fed. Reg. 3613-3616 (Jan 16, 2001).
Comprehensive Victim-Centered Services Model
Case Management Services
Under the DVHT Program, OTIP and FYSB require a comprehensive case management approach that uses trauma-informed and victim-centered models. Comprehensive case management must provide direct services and/or community referrals for housing, mental health screening and therapy, employability services, legal services, counseling, and health screening and medical care. Health screening and medical care must include treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services, and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care, including, but not limited to, exams, tests, pre-natal services, and non-directive health-related counseling. This approach requires DVHT Program deliver or provide referrals to services within their community and work closely with the victims, community partners, and public agencies to serve the victims’ needs. The victims’ concerns should guide the actions of the service delivery strategy.
Comprehensive case management services will also give victims the opportunity to make informed decisions about what they need to identify and achieve their personal goals, address the issues that shaped their trafficking situation, and ultimately work through their victimization. Case management services and activities include service plan development, counseling; legal services, monitoring and evaluating client progress, and securing and coordinating direct services. Case management can be provided directly through the grant recipient and/or through a project partner. In conjunction with case management, programs will provide services that address victims’ needs. The DVHT Program's comprehensive victim-centered services model also requires informing victims about their options for cooperating with criminal justice officials.
A comprehensive, victim-centered services model requires established protocols for information sharing and client confidentiality. Policies and procedures must be in place to ensure the non-disclosure of confidential, private, or personally identifiable information concerning victims of human traffickingwithout informed, written, reasonably time-limited consent by the person about whom the information is sought. Additionally, DVHT Programs must ensure that domestic victims of trafficking receive a high level of care by implementing, following, and enforcing standards of care and protocols for comprehensive case management services. DVHT Program recipients can use awarded funds to support training and technical assistance to staff and community partners. If programs decide to subgrant funds to community-based organizations, the programs must ensure the sub-grantee staff have the requisite training in working with trafficking victims, including understanding the federal definition of severe forms of human trafficking, indicators of human trafficking, needs of trafficking victims, comprehensive case management services, trauma-informed care, and federal and state legislation and resources for victims.
This funding opportunity specifically requires programs to integrate long-term housing options, substance abuse treatment services, and survivor-informed strategies into services delivery models. Program funds can be used to expand existing projects or to develop new initiatives addressing these requirements. Services may also be delivered directly by the agency and/or in partnership with a local agency. DVHT Programs must ensure that participants served under this program are not concurrently served with other federally funded grants, contracts, or sub-awards made to the grantee or sub-recipient agency specifically for services for victims of human trafficking. DVHT Programs may use private resources to achieve the objectives of this program, such as food pantries, thrift stores, employment and training services operated by nongovernmental organizations, and pro bono professional services.
DVHT Programs may use these grant funds for legal assistance that can include explanation of legal rights and protections, coordination with law enforcement, assistance on family and civil matters (e.g., protection from abuse orders, victims’ right enforcement and compliance efforts, representation in family court, and emancipation of minors), and general legal advocacy on matters that arise as a direct result of the human trafficking situation. DVHT Programs may also use program funds to provide ‘know your rights’ presentations to facilitate legal representation by private attorneys willing to act on behalf of the individual pro bono. DVHT funding may not be used for criminal defense attorney services.
Program Eligible Activities
Under the DVHT Program, the following victim assistance services must include, but are not limited to direct services and/or community referrals for:
- Victim identification, screening, assessment, safety planning, and service planning;
- Victim advocacy and information about crime victims’ rights and services;
- Direct victim assistance to support unmet basic needs and assist in the stabilization and self-sufficiency of human trafficking victims;
- Allowable and reasonable victim expenses including food, clothing, transportation assistance, and interpreter services;
- Legal advocacy and services;
- Behavioral health, medical, dental, and mental health services. Health screening and medical care must include treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services, and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care, including, but not limited to, exams, tests, pre-natal services, and non-directive health-related counseling.
- Shelter, housing, and sustenance, including assistance in securing emergency and transitional shelter, long-term housing assistance, group, and independent living options;
- Literacy education, job training, and/or education/GED assistance;
- Life skills training, including managing personal finances, self-care, and programs that help clients achieve self-sufficiency;
- Substance abuse treatment;
- Support services such as public benefits;
- Employment assistance, vocational training, and job placement; and
- Peer-to-peer support and mentoring.
DVHT Programs must have the capacity to deliver all of the required services to participants directly within their agency and/or through a formal partnership (including referring victims to the appropriate community agency if no such partnership exists). The DVHT Program is voluntary; hence, victims have the option to decline services provided by agency supported under the program. DVHT Programs should strive to assist victims in becoming self-sufficient, identify and provide access to community resources, opportunities, and support by providing information about survivors rights, offering encouragement, empathy, and respect; and promoting opportunities to reestablish social connections.
Long-Term Housing, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Survivor-Informed Services
The DVHT Program aims to expand or develop services and initiatives that promote the self-sufficiency and emotional well-being of trafficked victims, and ensure access to long-term housing options, substance abuse treatment, and survivor-informed services. As part of the DVHT Program, successful applicants must clearly describe how they are planning to integrate and deliver each of these services.
1. Long-Term Housing Options
It is important to remember that each victim is unique; therefore, housing options must fit the victim's current and long-term needs. Service providers and their community partners seeking to expand or develop long-term housing programs must consider best practices, as well as the needs of the population served, available resources, survivors’ input, and ways these programs will contribute to victims' safety, recovery, and independence.
2. Substance Abuse Treatment for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking
It is critical to refer victims of human trafficking who present with substance abuse dependencies to programs that are culturally appropriate and tailored to the needs of trafficked individuals, meaning that these treatments must address drug dependencies, its co-occurring disorders, clients' strengths, and ways to deliver these services in a holistic approach.
3. Inclusion of Survivor-Informed Services
Survivors of trafficking play an important role in assisting in the recovery of trafficked victims. They can serve as effective role models and can demonstrate to victims that they can overcome their exploitation and thrive. Human trafficking survivors should be involved in services provided to trafficked victims by taking leadership roles in projects, support groups, and mentorship initiatives.
Identifying and expanding partnerships with community agencies is a key part of providing comprehensive case management, delivering victim services, and integrating long-term services to domestic victims of severe forms of trafficking. DVHT grantees must partner with community agencies to effectively implement the program and monitor their service delivery approach and performance. Partners can include domestic violence or runaway and homeless youth shelters or non-residential programs; community health, substance abuse, and mental health treatment programs; survivor-informed programs, criminal justice programs, and community-based agencies offering comprehensive services for specific populations. Specific populations may include victims of human trafficking, as well as populations that are culturally and linguistically specific. For victims under the age of 18, services may be provided in conjunction with a runaway and homeless youth shelter, foster care placement, or group home. In addition, partnerships can be established with anti-human trafficking organizations; sexual assault victim services programs; and services for trauma survivors.
Partnership expansion efforts include, but are not limited to:
- Facilitating communication and coordination among victim assistance providers;
- Demonstrating meaningful collaboration and substantial involvement with victim service program partner(s);
- Conducting training on human trafficking awareness and victim services;
- Establishing a mechanism for referrals;
- Establishing formal Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to delineate partner roles and responsibilities and the sharing of project resources;
- Developing best practice to integrate survivor-informed approaches;
- Expanding long-term housing opportunities for victims; and
- Evaluating and improving substance abuse treatment for victims of trafficking.
24-Hour Response Plan
A 24-hour response plan is required under the DVHT Program. This includes protocols for handling client emergencies and emergency calls from law enforcement during evenings and weekends. Applicants must describe in detail their approach for ensuring emergency services for domestic trafficking victims 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. While acceptable plans cannot be limited to hotline services, and call-forwarding systems, response plans must include coordination with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center/National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Referrals of Services
If victims cannot be served by the DVHT Program, they must be properly referred to appropriate programs for which they are eligible. Examples include the OTIP Trafficking Victim Assistance Program and the OVC Human Trafficking Victim Services programs that can be used for foreign victims. A list of providers for OVC's programs can be found at: http://ojp.gov/ovc/grants/traffickingmatrix.html. Applicants should describe their approach for making appropriate referrals for services for domestic victims of human trafficking and for identified foreign victims of trafficking that cannot be served through the DVHT Program. Grantees may make referrals to partner(s) for services that cannot be provided directly by the program. Referrals may be made to formal partner(s) (i.e., when there is an MOU in place specifically for the DVHT Program), historical agency partner(s) (i.e., the agency has a long-standing formal or informal agreement that is not limited to its DVHT Program), or other reputable and appropriate community organizations that are able to address service gaps. Grantees should maintain proper documentation of referral to include the referral date, nature of the referral, and the agency/organization to which the victim was referred. Similarly, when victims have been referred to grantees of the DVHT Program, case records should include the source of the referral.
Faith Based Organizations
Consistent with the ACF Policy on Grants to Faith-Based Organizations (please see Section III.1 Eligible Applicants for more information), ACF is mindful that potential grantees may have religious objections to providing certain kinds of services, including referrals. ACF is committed to providing the full range of legally permissible services to people who need them, and to do so in a timely fashion and in a manner that respects the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of those we serve. At the same time, ACF is also committed to finding ways for organizations to partner with ACF and other grantees even if they object to providing specific services on religious grounds.
If an organization has a religious objection to providing any of the services or referrals required in the program, it may propose an approach to meeting its grant obligations consistent with ACF's faith-based policy. The alternative approach must be one that accomplishes the goal of ensuring that trafficking victims understand the full range of services available to them, including reproductive health services, and that there is a mechanism by which victims requesting such services can receive appropriate referrals. If an alternative approach is proposed, ACF will decide whether to accept the alternative approach, based upon a determination of whether the alternative approach will ensure timely referrals to all services and/or referrals for which the individual is eligible, is not burdensome to the client, and is operationally feasible for ACF.
Programs will be given a 3-month start-up period (90 days from Notice of Award date). This start-up period gives programs an opportunity to further assess the community's service gaps through community conversations and to expand the partnerships needed to successfully implement the program. Successful applicants will also have an opportunity to enhance plans addressing long-term housing, substance abuse treatment, and survivor-informed services.
Activities conducted during the start-up period will inform decision-making about the populations targeted for services, the screening and assessment tools adopted, and the strategies and activities necessary to successfully implement the chosen programming. OTIP and FYSB will require a community assessment and partnership expansion plan after the start-up period has concluded, along with a detailed final plan describing the inclusion of long-term housing, substance treatment, and survivor-informed approaches. The plan builds on the activities submitted in the application and will include updated timelines and milestones, as well as a list of new partners, how the partnership was formed, and what services they will provide.
Similarly, grantees may need to submit a revised work plan. The work plan will address the list of comprehensive services described in the Project Requirements section, the organization responsible for conducting each activity, and the referral process for services beyond the grantees' abilities or program scope. Although grantees will have a 3-month start-up period to revisit their work plan, service delivery begins upon grant award and continues while programs strengthen their case management and services through a continuous quality improvement approach.
Kick-Off and Peer Meetings
A grantee kick-off meeting will be held in Washington, D.C, within the first 3 months of the official award date. Grantees are also expected to attend a 2-day peer meeting at one of the grantee locations during the project period. Both the project director and the key staff person responsible for tracking and documenting progress toward project milestones and outcomes must attend the kick-off meeting. The project director and a second staff member must attend the peer meeting.
Each grantee will receive technical assistance and work cooperatively with technical assistance providers identified by OTIP and FYSB. Technical assistance services may support program development; capacity assessments; training related to trauma-informed service provision; training on serving underserved or historically marginalized populations (including American Indian and Alaskan Native victims); strategies for improving partnerships with community-based organizations, the criminal justice system, and other community partners; interpreting and applying regulations or legislation; and strategic planning, evaluation, budget planning, marketing, and other management challenges.
Staff and Partner Training
DVHT Programs are required to have training in the human trafficking field on an ongoing basis. If a DVHT Program has a partner that is assisting in service delivery, training may be necessary to better equip them with the capacity to implement the DVHT Program. Many cities and communities have free human trafficking forums, seminars, and information sessions that may benefit the program and its partner(s). Both program staff and its partner(s) are encouraged to take part in local training opportunities focused on human trafficking. Grant funds can be used to support staff training, particularly as it relates to the requirement that select professional(s) providing certain services (i.e., legal, social services, health services) must have completed or will complete training related to trafficking.
Grantees will participate in an ACF evaluation with the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE). The evaluation may assess grantee site policies, practices, and services, including the focus of this grant program on access to long-term housing options, substance abuse treatment, and integration of survivor-informed services. The evaluation may also develop recommendations for expanding and enhancing services for domestic victims of human trafficking on a broader scale. In addition, grantees will collect data and report on performance indicators. If an outside evaluator is used, the DVHT Program must not conduct its own evaluation and the evaluator must work in collaboration with OPRE's evaluation team. Grantees will monitor their own performance and must have appropriate staff and sufficient resources dedicated to evaluation activities, including data collection, data reporting, and coordination with the OPRE evaluator. This includes having a management information system (MIS) or allocating funds towards building a MIS to collect data. DVHT programs will also be active participants in workgroups and discussions with HHS with the purpose of better understanding the incidence and prevalence of human trafficking and informing the development of uniform data collection on human trafficking.
FYSB and OTIP expect that information and knowledge generated by the DVHT Program and activities will be shared with the field, and efforts will be made to integrate project knowledge and lessons learned into policy and practice. The DVHT grantees will work with FYSB and OTIP to disseminate their products and findings and with other FYSB and OTIP service delivery providers to disseminate cross-grant products and findings, when applicable.
DVHT Program will be expected to work with their Federal Project Officer (FPO) and other organizatons funded through this FOA to:
- Finalize individual grant dissemination goals and objectives;
- Identify and engage with target audiences for dissemination;
- Produce detailed procedures, materials, and other products based on grant activities;
- Assist in the development and dissemination of federally created tools and products designed to combat and prevent human trafficking; and
- Develop and disseminate summarized/synthesized information about the grant project’s processes and outcomes.
FYSB and OTIP reserve the right to secure and distribute grantee products and materials, including copies of journal articles written by DVHT Programs about their funded projects. All DVHT project materials, products, publications, and news releases will include this notice: Funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant # [insert grant number here]. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This information is in the public domain. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit [grantee name].