ABOVE: Linda Smith, the founder, and president of Shared Hope International appeared on the Wednesday edition of CBN's Newswatch to talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the victims of human trafficking. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.
WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has awarded more than $35 million in grants from the Justice Department to organizations that provide safe housing for survivors of human trafficking.
"The president stated very early in the administration that he would put the full force and weight of this government on ending human trafficking, arguably the gravest of human rights violations," said Ivanka Trump, a daughter of President Donald Trump.
The grants will be shared by 73 organizations in 33 states. They will provide 6 to 24 months of help for transitioning or short-term housing.
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"COVID has really underscored the urgency," said Ivanka Trump. "Housing assistance is the number one need."
Trump was joined by human trafficking survivors who shared their stories.
"My aspirations, my personal vision for my future was of no concern to my trafficker," said Tanya Gould, a survivor. "So personally this experience to be heard and to feel valued has helped me advance on my own path of wholeness and I am forever grateful."
"I'm very grateful for your leadership," said Attorney General William Barr. "It's leaders like you who do so much for victims that frankly, were inspired at the Justice Department."
Gould is now a member of the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Ivanka Trump called Gould and the other survivors a "beacon of hope for so many."
The grant money can also be used to help victims find permanent housing, get a job, and receive occupational training and counseling.