U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $749,927 in federal Department of Justice (DOJ) funding for My Sister’s Place, a White Plains-based nonprofit, to provide services to victims of human trafficking in Westchester County and the Lower Hudson Valley region. This funding was allocated through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office for Victims of Crime. Specifically, My Sister’s Place will use the funds to leverage various local, state and federal resources to provide an array of services for trafficking victims. The grant will support their efforts to increase the capacity of communities by hiring two new full-time staff members. These staff members will allow the organization to respond more effectively to human trafficking victims and further develop its interagency partnerships, professional training and public awareness activities.
“With this critical federal funding, the My Sister’s Place will be able to continue their important work serving the victims of human trafficking in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley,” said Senator Schumer. “It is critical that we work to both eliminate human trafficking by helping survivors obtain the comprehensive services they need and deserve.”
“Increased public awareness through a strong and coordinated community response is crucial to fighting issues of human trafficking and domestic violence,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting these federal funds for My Sister’s Place to continue their life-saving services and care for those most vulnerable throughout the Lower Hudson Valley. These funds provide additional resources necessary to identify and provide essential support services to help safeguard survivors.”
“We are so thrilled that Senator Schumer is such a staunch supporter of human trafficking victims,” said Karen Cheeks-Lomax, CEO of My Sisters’ Place. “Knowing we have partners amongst our elected officials ensures that all of us work together to address the horrors of human trafficking and ensure that those affected have free, compassionate, and available services to support them.”
According to the Director of the Human Trafficking Program, Rebecca de Simone, “We are so grateful that the furtherance of OVC support ensures that comprehensive services to human trafficking survivors will continue, while also building the capacity of project partners. Having secure funding for 3 years concretizes referral systems for victims with access to medical, dental, and mental health services through Open Door Medical Centers and work force development with Neighbor’s Link and the Community Resource Center. This important funding will also expand My Sisters’ Place’s Human Trafficking Program, adding two new staff positions. The expanded programming for trafficking victims will add much needed legal services, psychological care, transitional housing, and education and employment coordination. We will also be continuing our training activities with aims to increase community stakeholders’ ability to effectively identify, support, and connect human trafficking victims with these expanded services.”
The Department of Justice’s Comprehensive Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Competitive Solicitation and Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Competitive Solicitation: Enhancement of Established Human Trafficking Task Forces awards grants to states, units of local government (including federally recognized Indian tribal governments, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), and nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations (including tribal nonprofit and nongovernment organizations) with a demonstrated history of providing victim assistance, social services, legal services, shelter, or mental health services for victims of human trafficking.