Human trafficking is a complex global and social problem and a crime that involves the exploitation of humans for monetary gain or personal benefit for the traffickers and buyers (U.S. Department of State, 2020.)
During the spring of 2020, Metro United Way was presented with the unique opportunity to partner with United Way Worldwide (UWW) and UPS to serve as one of four local United Ways (LUWs) engaged in a new effort, United Against Human Trafficking. The purpose of this two-year project is to pilot community-based anti-trafficking interventions at a local level. The ultimate goal is to identify promising practices and impactful strategies that can be scaled, shared and/or replicated in other communities across the country.
During the first year of this project, Metro United Way focused on conducting a comprehensive landscape analysis of the current state of human trafficking and anti-trafficking efforts in our local community. This final report was released in 2021 and focused on four areas: 1) Education, Awareness and Training, 2) Survivor Needs and Services, 3) Children and Young Adults, and 4) Collaboration and Coordination within the Community. The ultimate goal of the research was to identify specific needs and gaps in services related to prevention, awareness, and survivor supports and services. To those ends, the report gleans several important insights including:
- Children and young adults are vulnerable to trafficking in our community and need more comprehensive services and interventions.
- Funding for prevention and direct services at multiple levels is often fragmented and sometimes absent.
- Community strengths to leverage trauma-informed care is an integral part of existing services in some areas and offers opportunities for broader expansion.
- A gap in availability of safe and affordable housing for human trafficking survivors is particularly prevalent in the existing network of social services.
To respond to these and other findings in the report, Metro United Way is releasing an open Request for Proposals (RFP) focused on effective programs and services that meet human trafficking survivors’ greatest needs. Responding organizations should be non-profit partners based in Metro United Way’s seven-county region of Jefferson, Shelby, Oldham and Bullitt Counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd and Harrison Counties in Indiana.