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Grants to USA State and Local Governments and Nonprofits to Improve Programs that Assist Victims of Human Trafficking


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FY 2018 Specialized Services for Victims of Human Trafficking

US Department of Justice (DOJ) - Office of Justice Programs (OJP) - Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)

Agency: Federal

GrantWatch ID #155052

Grant Description

Grants to USA state and local municipalities, tribal governments, and nonprofit agencies to enhance the quality of services provided to victims of human trafficking. Funding is intended for programs in the areas of housing, legal assistance, mental health services, substance abuse services, education, and economic and leadership empowerment.

Under this program, a victim of trafficking is defined as a person who has been subjected to “severe forms of trafficking in persons,” which, as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 7102(9), means—
i. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
ii. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

OVC is interested in supporting programs that focus on one or more of the priority areas identified below:
1. Housing services. Addressing a range of housing options including, but not limited to, emergency shelter, short-term housing assistance, transitional housing, and/or rapid rehousing. For the purposes of this program, all housing services offered are intended to help victims achieve self-sufficiency and transition into safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. All proposed specialized shelter programs must be operational and structured in a way to maintain sensitivity to specific types of victims, such as persons with disabilities. Additionally, applicants that propose any specialized housing and shelter program must be able to demonstrate a history of providing housing and shelter services. Applicants should provide information about whether client participation in the proposed program is voluntary or mandated.

2. Economic and leadership empowerment and/or education services. Examples of allowable programs include, but are not limited to, vocational/skills training, financial counseling, job readiness assistance, education programs, and assistance with educational and professional certifications.

3. Mental health services. Programs include, but are not limited to, evidence-based prevention, treatment, and trauma-informed and recovery support services. Services such as care coordination, peer support, and integrated mental health and substance use, as well as medical services, must be included. All services and programs need to be person-centered, trauma-specific, and have quality assurance practices for fidelity.

4. Substance abuse services. Programs include, but are not limited to, evidence-based prevention, treatment, and trauma-informed and recovery support services. Services such as care coordination, peer support, medication-assisted therapies, and integrated mental health, substance use, and medical services must be included. All services and programs need to be person-centered, trauma-specific, and have quality assurance practices for fidelity.

5. Legal services. Comprehensive legal services, addressing the range of legal issues that arise from the victimization, may be provided in-house or through referrals to community partners. Examples of allowable services include, but are not limited to, immigration assistance; assistance with civil legal remedies, such as family law (including divorce, custody, and child support; emancipation, dependency, or guardianship; and family reunification); protective orders; employment law (including wage and hour claims); public benefits access; crime victims’ rights enforcement; and other civil legal remedies and legal resources available.

Specialized services supported under this program must be trauma-informed and linguistically and developmentally appropriate. Applicants and any partners must have in place policies and procedures promoting linguistically relevant services, including the accessibility of services for program participants with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.

OVC expects applicants to offer services that are as inclusive as possible of all trafficking victims. Federal laws prohibit recipients of OJP funding from discriminating in the delivery of services on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or disability. Recipients are also obligated under federal civil rights laws to provide meaningful access to their programs and activities for persons with limited English proficiency. Under certain circumstances, it might be appropriate to limit services based upon age, and to refer otherwise eligible beneficiaries outside of the targeted age group to other services.

A victim-centered and trauma-informed approach will help ensure that victims of human trafficking have the opportunity to make informed decisions about the support they need to work through the impact of the crime, address the issues that shaped the trafficking situation, and work toward identifying and achieving their personal goals. Grantees should inform victims about their options and help them work with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement in the prosecution of the trafficker(s).

Case Management:
Applicants must include a plan to ensure that case management is provided for all victims of human trafficking receiving the OVC-funded specialized service. For example, case management should be provided, either in-house or through project partners, for minor victims who may be placed in foster care or a group home, or who reside with family; or, for adults living independently or within a substance abuse treatment center or shelter. Case management is a central service, as it ensures that victims have support to access a variety of services that are coordinated across multiple systems. It ensures the provision of wraparound services that meet victims where they are and helps them express their choices, while working through the trauma of the situation and interacting with the necessary local and federal partners. Case management should include assessment of client needs, development of individualized service plans, assessment of eligibility for other public or community-based programs, assistance in accessing publicly funded programs, assistance with safety planning, assistance with crime victim compensation claims when possible, information and referral, documentation of services provided, and routine followup to ensure that the victim’s needs are being addressed.

Additionally, applicants must ensure that victim advocacy and information about crime victims’ rights and services are provided. This may include coordinating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) victim/witness coordinators; victim/witness staff in district attorneys’ offices or within local law enforcement; victim advocates within intimate partner violence and domestic violence or sexual assault crisis centers; and local Sexual Assault Response Teams, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner programs. Victim advocates within these settings may provide information on the status of an investigation or prosecution; assistance with the application process for state crime victim compensation benefits; sexual assault forensic medical exam options; accompaniment to court proceedings; additional comprehensive victim services, whether in-house or through referrals; and information to help clients exercise their rights as crime victims within the criminal justice process.

Coordinating With Law Enforcement:
OVC strongly encourages all grantees to assist clients above the age of 18 in complying with reasonable requests from a local, state, federal, or tribal government agency with the authority to investigate or prosecute trafficking acts. OVC is committed to the elimination of all forms of trafficking in persons, which requires the prosecution of traffickers as a key part of a multifaceted strategy. Victim-centered investigations and prosecutions of traffickers reduce harm and increase safety for our communities while supporting the healing of victims. Minors (defined here as persons under the age of 18), whether foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, should be encouraged to comply with reasonable requests, if possible, with the understanding that the extent of reasonable cooperation depends on the age, trauma, and maturity of the victim, among other factors.

Goals, Objectives, and Deliverables:
The primary goal of this program is to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to assist all victims of human trafficking to achieve their goals, which may include increased autonomy and self-sufficiency, and increased feelings of safety and well-being. Victims of trafficking have diverse and distinct needs that may require specialized responses. This solicitation focuses on support of a specialized service or services to bridge gaps in current service provision.

This program has the following objectives:
1. Provide one or more of the priority services using victim-centered and trauma-informed service delivery for all victims of human trafficking, either in-house or through community partnerships.
2. Work in collaboration with federal, state, and local law enforcement, local service providers, and community- and faith-based organizations to ensure trafficking victims are identified and referred for appropriate services.
3. Conduct training and public awareness activities for professionals and community members to improve their knowledge of human trafficking and their ability to identify and respond to victims. (Note: 2 to 5 percent of the total project budget, including match funds, must be dedicated to conducting training and public awareness activities.)
4. Conduct data collection and action research activities to determine if the program is meeting stated goals and objectives. (Note: 2 to 7 percent of the total project budget, including match funds, must be dedicated to action research activities.)

Funds awarded through this OVC grant are intended primarily to support the cost of direct services that promote victim safety and stability in the aftermath of victimization, leading to the goal of autonomy and economic self-sufficiency. OVC does not set time limits on services and supports the provision of ongoing case management when there are no other specialized programs to provide case management services; however, funds awarded through this program are not intended to provide long-term financial support to trafficking victims.

Resource Coordination:
Proposals should fill gaps in existing services. All applicants should determine if there is an existing federally funded trafficking victim service provider within their jurisdiction, and work to ensure that the new application does not duplicate existing services currently funded by OVC, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office on Violence Against Women, or another federal office or agency.

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

By statute, grants under this program may be awarded to states, units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribal governments (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), nonprofit groups (defined as an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 and is exempt from taxation under 501(a) of such title), and nongovernmental organizations (including tribal nonprofits). For the purposes of this program, a unit of local government is any city, county, township, town, borough, parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a state, territory, or federally recognized Indian tribal government.

Note: OVC funding may not be used for criminal defense services. Please note, direct representation on vacatur or expungement matters, through court filings or through other litigation services, is not an allowable cost under this solicitation or with FY 2018 funds. However, grantees may counsel clients on the expungement or vacatur of any conviction for a non-violent crime that is a direct result of being a trafficking victim.

Note: Proposals that include new construction or renovation of a housing or shelter facility will not be accepted.

The following activities have been found to jeopardize victim safety or deter or prevent physical or emotional healing for victims:
1. The development and implementation of policies and procedures that exclude any victims from receiving safe shelter, advocacy services, counseling, and other assistance;
2. The development and implementation of policies and procedures that compromise the confidentiality of information and privacy of persons receiving OVC-funded services;
3. The development and implementation of policies and procedures that impose requirements on victims in order to receive services (e.g., receive counseling, seek civil or criminal remedies, etc.);
4. The development and implementation of policies and procedures that fail to conduct safety planning with victims;
5. The implementation of project designs and budgets that fail to account for the access needs of individuals with disabilities and individuals who have limited English proficiency or are Deaf or hard of hearing; and
6. The establishment or enhancement of a multidisciplinary collaborative community response without developing appropriate policies regarding confidentiality and information sharing for the members.

Pre-proposal Conference:

OVC will conduct one pre-application webinar on May 31, 2018, from 3:00–4:00 p.m. eastern time. Participation in the webinar is optional. OVC staff will review the solicitation requirements and conduct a question and answer session with interested potential applicants.

Webinar Information:


Pre-Application Information:

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 27, 2018.

Applicants must register on the application portal prior to submitting an application.

Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement (cash or in-kind):
Federal funds awarded under this solicitation may not cover more than 75 percent of the total costs of the project. An applicant must identify the source of the 25 percent nonfederal portion4 of the total project costs and how it will use match funds. If a successful applicant’s proposed match exceeds the required match amount, and OJP approves the budget, the total match amount incorporated into the approved budget becomes mandatory and subject to audit. (“Match” funds may be used only for purposes that would be allowable for the federal funds.) Recipients may satisfy this match requirement with either cash or in-kind services. See the DOJ Grants Financial Guide at for examples of “in-kind” services.

Letters of Support From Law Enforcement and/or Prosecutorial Agencies:
Applicants must provide at least one letter of support from a local, state, tribal, and/or federal law enforcement agency and/or a local, state, tribal, and/or federal prosecutor’s office(s). Note that law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices providing letters of support may do so for multiple applicants.

Technical Assistance:

Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

OVC expects to make up to 20 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

OVC expects to provide awards of up to $700,000.

Term of Contract:

OVC expects to make awards for a 36-month period of performance, to begin on October 1, 2018.

Contact Information:

Online application:

Customer Support Hotline
800–518–4726, 606–545–5035

Program Specialist:

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