Oklahoma State Department uses $600,000 federal grant to assist victims of human trafficking

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The state of Oklahoma is taking new action to help victims of human trafficking.

Over the next three years, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will use the $600,000 federal grant to provide resources such as safe housing and trauma therapy.

At least 75 individuals will benefit from this grant, but the state anticipates serving more.

Human trafficking is an insidious crime that can go undetected for decades.

The average age of victims of human trafficking nationally is 13 years old, but it can affect anyone.

“It can also be a place where a family with a parent has a substance abuse problem and is facilitating access by selling their child,” said Lauren Garder, senior manager of Zero Suicide and Trauma Care. their.

Some victims are abused for survival, exchanging behavior for basic needs, but for some it ends up translating into a trafficking experience.

“They may not realize it’s happening to them,” says Garder. “Yes, part of this program is to allow us to provide people with stable housing so they don’t have to worry about meeting basic needs that could lead to trafficking. sell”.

The new grant provides individuals with a safe place to live while also addressing their trauma with a specialist.

“The coupons they get will cover rent, rent, utilities, all of that for every voucher they get,” says Garder. “So we will be able to support them for up to six months, or if they are participating in one of our residential treatment programs, they will be able to get that support.” even longer there.”

Melissa Eick with The Dragonfly Home, a human trafficking crisis center in Oklahoma City, has seen the positive impact of what these resources can do.

“Arousing confidence and the ability to hope and dream again, those are the basics we all need, and it’s truly amazing to see how people continue to build new lives. and get a fresh start when they receive specialized services,” says Eick.

Victims over the age of 12 can be helped with this grant. The Department of Human Services has resources available for those seeking younger services.

The project will provide transitional housing access and short-term rental assistance in 75 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.

https://kfor.com/news/local/oklahoma-state-department-to-utilize-600000-federal-grant-to-aid-human-trafficking-victims/ Oklahoma State Department uses $600,000 federal grant to assist victims of human trafficking


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