Setback for human trafficking efforts

Catholic Charities human trafficking program loses Federal funds
Loss eliminates comprehensive assistance for immigrant victims of human trafficking in Oregon
By Catholic Charities, Oregon

Human trafficking victim’s assistance in Oregon will face a major setback on Nov. 30, when Catholic Charities’ Outreach and Support to Special Immigrant Populations (OSSIP) program will be forced to substantially reduce its service capacity. OSSIP is the only comprehensive program in Oregon providing comprehensive assistance to foreign-born survivors of human trafficking. Staff recently learned it will not receive a two-year $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime that has supported the program for the past eight years.

The contract made it possible for OSSIP’s three staff members to assist immigrant victims of human trafficking with attorney representation toward T- and U-Visas, as well as comprehensive victim services, including case management, general advocacy, interpreter/translation services, rental assistance, medical and mental health care access, transportation assistance, and other forms of emergency assistance

“The loss of the OSSIP program will leave a major gap in services to immigrant victims of human trafficking in Oregon,” said Chris Killmer OSSIP Program Coordinator. “Victims will be more likely to fall through the cracks, and those who are identified will face the challenge of piecing together resources from several different agencies…a near impossible feat for this particular population.”

On October 28, The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime informed Catholic Charities it will allocate trafficking funding to alternate social service programs—none of which operate in Oregon.
Catholic Charities will continue to act as an information and referral service for any immigrant survivor identified in Oregon providing an initial screening and advocacy to immigrant survivors identified by first responders.

Catholic Charities currently provides trafficking victims’ assistance to 40 clients in Oregon

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