WASHINGTON (April 13, 2006) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has received a contract award from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide comprehensive support services to victims of human trafficking. Awarded through ACF's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the contract is designed to centralize services while maintaining a high level of care for victims of human trafficking.
USCCB, through its department of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), has been deeply involved in programs to combat the scourge of human trafficking for many years. "Human trafficking is at the forefront of social issues addressed by the Catholic Church and the U.S. bishops," said Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Migration. "We recognize the depth of this challenge and are honored to continue serving in this important work."
Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, said: "This contract award reflects President Bush's commitment to assist victims of human trafficking. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is uniquely qualified to fulfill this commitment because of its history of service, community involvement and national presence."
Differing from other contract arrangements, USCCB will be provided with resources for each victim actually being served. This per-capita contract will ensure efficiency and the best possible services to victims of human trafficking. It will also streamline support services to help victims of human trafficking gain access to shelter, legal assistance, job training and health care to establish lives free of violence and exploitation. USCCB intends to enter into agreements with service providers throughout the U.S. to assist in serving victims as they may surface. The award is for five years, with a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $6 million per year.
The contract will work in concert with HHS' ongoing campaign, Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking, which educates Americans about human trafficking and how they can help victims in their own community. A key component of the campaign is the 24/7 toll-free trafficking information and referral hotline, 1.888.373.7888. Victim service needs that originate through the hotline will be served through the USCCB contract.
To learn more about HHS' efforts to provide support to trafficking victims, visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/programs/astvict.htm. To learn more about the HHS campaign to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking, view: