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City Heights Group’s Funding For Foreign Trafficking Victims To Continue

The logo for La Maestra Community Health Centers is seen on the front door of...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: The logo for La Maestra Community Health Centers is seen on the front door of the organization's offices, April 27, 2017.

This week, we told you about an anti-human trafficking program that was running out of money. Now the organization received some good news.

An anti-human trafficking program in San Diego's City Height's neighborhood that was facing a budget shortfall will now be able to keep its doors open.

The nonprofit La Maestra Community Health Centers provides victims of trafficking — especially immigrants — with financial, legal and medical services, but was at risk of running out of money. Its primary funder, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said it had not received additional funding from the federal government to accommodate the increased client base its affiliates were serving this year.

What Can You Do To Help Victims Of Trafficking?

The city of San Diego's public library system launched the awareness campaign "Out of the Shadows" to help combat trafficking. The Mountain View/Beckwourth branch is hosting a Spanish-language discussion Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: City of San Diego

A flyer advertises a May 24, 2017 Spanish-language event as part of the city of San Diego public library system's sex trafficking awareness campaign, "Out of the Shadows."

But on Monday afternoon that changed, said Lee Williams, chief financial officer for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, or USCRI.

"We are back in business," Williams said. "There will not be a disruption to our ability to provide the needed services to foreign victims of human trafficking across the country."

He said the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services' Administration for Children and Families, which distributes the grant, was able to tap into an existing nearly $6 million to cover the next 16 months by shifting the dates of the funding cycle.

Previously, USCRI president and CEO Lavinia Limón estimated anti-trafficking programs across the country needed a total of $2.5 million more to finish out the fiscal year, which concludes at the end of September.

In City Heights, the budget boost means La Maestra's Carmen Kcomt can apply to enroll two clients on her waiting list and re-enroll some of her 18 clients who reached their 9-month funding limit or who had their funding cut off because of the budget gap.

Kcomt said after the original story aired on KPBS, she was contacted by a family law attorney who extended free legal services to her clients and a UC San Diego professor who offered to house a victim in her home. Additionally, Kcomt said a nonprofit director proposed the idea of hosting a conference to empower victims to come forward. They plan to organize an event in the future.


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