To Fight Human Trafficking, The Budget Must Protect Homeless Kids

With the news from two major studies released last month that one in five homeless youth has been trafficked, it is now clear that safe, affordable housing has become an essential front in the war against human trafficking. There’s good news ― and looming bad news – from the battlefield, and the safety of youth experiencing homelessness lies in the balance.

The good news is Congress reached agreement on its budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2017, avoiding a government shutdown, and it has raised some homelessness-related funding levels, and kept others level, through September.

There was an increase of $10 million for Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects, which are designed to focus resources in select communities across the country to achieve rapid and sustainable reductions in youth homelessness. Congress enacted a small (0.06 percent) increase in homeless assistance programs generally and education for Homeless Children and Youth saw an increase of $7 million. Those are positive steps.

But the 2018 budget could be another story. In March, President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget called for a $6.2 billion, 13.2 percent decrease in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There was talk of cutting $600 million from the operating funds of public housing, and $1.3 billion from the public housing capital fund, even though there are tens of billions in repairs needed in public housing, as of 2010. As the number of habitable subsidized housing units decreases, kids like the ones we care for at Covenant House will have fewer options when they try to find their own apartments.

The proposed cuts will be devastating.

To read the full story by Kevin M. Ryan on Huffington Post: Click Here

Immigration Expert Predicts Human Trafficking Will Surge Under Trump

The U.S.’s anti-immigration policies and building a US/Mexico wall are set to hinder the fight against human trafficking

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Under tougher anti-immigration policies in the United States under President Donald Trump, human trafficking will “skyrocket,” a top expert warned at a conference on Tuesday.

Fear of being deported by U.S. authorities stops people from speaking up about their own or other trafficking cases, said Denise Brennan, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Georgetown University.

“Policies that push migrants to live and work in the shadows make the perfect prey for abusive employers,” said Brennan, a keynote speaker at the Trust Conference/America Forum, a one-day Thomson Reuters Foundation event on the fight against slavery and trafficking.

“We cannot effectively fight trafficking when migrants fear reporting exploitation and abuse.”

Anti-immigrant rhetoric, violence and policies are on the rise around the world, in particular in the United States under Trump, who has vowed to fight illegal immigration and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, she said.

“Trafficking will skyrocket under President Trump,” she said. “Anti-immigrant policies make trafficking possible.”

Since becoming president, Trump has issued a temporary visa ban against seven Muslim-majority countries that was later blocked by federal courts, suspended a refugee program and initiated tougher deportation procedures.

LITTLE POLITICAL WILL

Up to 12 million people are estimated to be living illegally without documents in the United States.

While there are no official law enforcement statistics, in the United States nearly 32,000 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the last decade.

“These individuals have no place to turn,” said Brennan, author of “Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States.”

“Isolation and threat of deportation are just as powerful as locking someone behind closed doors,” she said.

 

To read the full story by Ellen Wulfhorst on Thomson Reuters Foundation News: Click Here