- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 8, 2003

The Justice Department has announced a $9.5 million nationwide federal program to help the estimated 50,000 women and children trafficked each year into the United States, many of whom are forced into the sex trade.
The department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Thursday awarded 12 grants under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Grant program.
Boat People S.O.S. in Falls Church received a $1.89 million grant. Formed in 1981, the organization conducts joint rescue-at-sea missions with international organizations and has rescued more than 3,000 Vietnamese boat people in the South China Sea.
The organization moved its headquarters from San Diego to Northern Virginia in 1990 and now concentrates on policy advocacy and casework, assisting some 1,500 refugee families in their asylum claims.
Since 1996, it has shifted its focus to helping and empowering Vietnamese immigrants and refugees in America.
"Trafficking victims are often poor and disadvantaged, and do not have access to traditional forms of assistance," said OVC Director John W. Gillis.
"We will work with our grantees to ensure that these victims are no longer ignored and receive the help they need."
Justice Department spokesman Adam Spector said trafficking victims may also be forced into domestic servitude, prison-type factory labor or migrant agricultural work.
He said eight of the grants will support comprehensive services to trafficking victims in a specific state or region, including emergency medical attention, food and shelter, vocational and English-language training, mental health counseling and legal support.
The grant winners will also educate local victim service providers on the needs of trafficking victims and develop training materials that can be used nationally.
Three of the grants will support specialized services to trafficking victims in larger multistate areas, including:
The Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights will provide legal and social services to trafficking victims in eight Midwestern states.
The Massachusetts Mental Health Institute Trauma Center will offer psychological assessments and crisis treatment to victims in 15 East Coast states and the District.
The Salvation Army will establish at least 29 programs nationwide to house and support sex-trafficking victims.
Mr. Spector said the department also awarded a grant to Safe Horizon Inc., which will develop and deliver training and technical assistance to the other grantees.
Grants also went to the Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles; the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach in San Francisco; the International Rescue Committee in New York; the East Dallas Counseling Center Inc. in Dallas; and the YMCA International Services Inc. in Houston.

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