Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $500,000 for the International Institute of Buffalo to combat human trafficking in Western New York. The competitive federal grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice to support a comprehensive strategy against human trafficking in all forms. Earlier this year, both senators wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging his support for the International Institute of Buffalo efforts to prevent human trafficking and assist trafficking victims.
“With this funding, the International Institute of Buffalo will be able to continue their important work, serving the victims of human trafficking in Western New York,” said Senator Schumer. “I applaud the Department of Justice for choosing this program in an effort to increase investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators and to help fund the restorative services for victims of this abhorrent crime.”
“This is a key investment for the International Institute of Buffalo’s initiative to end the scourge of human trafficking,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we fight back against human trafficking, we can hold more dangerous criminals accountable, give victims a sense of justice and help put their lives back together, and keep more New Yorkers safe.”
International Institute of Buffalo’s Director of Victim Services, Amy Fleischauer said, “IIB is thrilled to receive continued support from DOJ-OVC toward our efforts to serve survivors of human trafficking. Given WNY’s geographic and industry-related vulnerabilities to this crime and the increase in awareness among professionals and the larger community, the numbers of identified victims – domestic and international, male and female, young and old, within labor and sex industries – has continued to rise. The need for comprehensive care services including crisis response, safe housing, appropriate interpretation, physical and mental health services, legal support and on-going advocacy is imperative in assisting survivors toward their goals of safety, healing, and self-sufficiency.”
The competitive grant from the Department of Justice is awarded through the “FY 2003 Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victim Compensation.” This cooperative agreement reflects the continuing commitment of the Department of Justice to enhance the law enforcement and social service fields’ response to victims of human trafficking. The purpose of this award is to support a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking in all forms; sex trafficking and labor trafficking of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (male and female, adults and minors). The grantee will work in partnership with the BJA grantee funded under this solicitation to 1.) Conduct proactive, victim-centered trafficking investigations; 2.) Offer a comprehensive array of restorative services to meet each victim’s identified needs; 3.) Support the prosecution of trafficking crimes on state and federal levels; and 4.) Enhance community capacity to identify trafficking crimes and provide culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services to all trafficking victims identified within the geographic region.
Senator Gillibrand’s and Senator Schumer’s full letters to Attorney General Holder are attached.