Justice Department on Tuesday announced it has opened a record 34 investigations and filed six lawsuits supporting alleged victims of sexual harassment by their landlords.
The 34 open cases is more than any other year and five times more than the previous year, the department said.
Since October 2017, the Justice Department has bolstered its efforts to tackle the crime of sexual harassment on housing where woman are pressured into sex in exchange for free or reduced rent.
“This important initiative is giving a voice to victims of sexual harassment in housing. It also sends the strong message that the Department is listening to victims and taking action against landlords and managers who attempt to prey on vulnerable individuals all over the country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore for the Civil Rights Division.
Among the Justice Department’s efforts to encourage victims to report were forming partnerships with local agencies, including fair housing groups, local law enforcement and community advocates. It also launched a website to educate the public.