The goal of the FY 2019 Direct Services to Support Victims of Human Trafficking Program is to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to victims of human trafficking, as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended. Funding through this program supports specialized services to victims of sex and labor trafficking, as well as for efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to human trafficking through the development of interagency partnerships, professional training, and public awareness activities over a three-year project period.
The Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) will sustain and expand its Educational Initiative program to break cycles of exploitation, violence, and poverty for low income girls and women of color who are disproportionately impacted and victimized by sex trafficking in New York City. A focus on trafficking victims and survivors' education that takes into account the specific obstacles faced by girls and women of color is critical, as a lack of formal education severely impacts their economic future and keeps girls and women trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty and further vulnerability to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Through the Educational Initiative, and with support from GEMS comprehensive, holistic support services, survivors of trafficking are able to obtain their high school diploma or HSE (high school equivalency) diploma and succeed in post-secondary education or vocational training. OVC Funding will support hiring two additional staff to support the Educational Initiative program and increase high school and HSE program graduation rates and improve college retention rates through targeted support, tutoring, and support for GEMS trainings to service providers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, and faith-based organizations to increase understanding around the needs of identified girls and women of color in NYC who have been trafficked and equip them to better support trafficking victims and survivors. CA/NCF