.- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has received a major five-year government contract award to provide comprehensive support services to victims of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is at the forefront of social issues addressed by the Catholic Church and the U.S. bishops,” said Bishop Gerald 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.”
The contract will provide the USCCB with the resources for each victim being served. It will also streamline support services to help them gain access to shelter, legal assistance, job training and health care to establish lives free of violence and exploitation.
The USCCB intends to enter into agreements with service providers throughout the U.S. to assist in serving victims as they may surface. The award has a minimum allocation of $500,000 and a maximum of $6 million per year.
The award was granted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Administration for Children and Families. The Administration for Children and Families falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“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,” said Wade Horn of the government office.
The contract will work in concert with the Department of Health and Human Services’ ongoing campaign, Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking, which educates Americans about human trafficking.
A key component of the campaign is the 24/7 toll-free trafficking information and referral hotline, 1-888-373-7888.