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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ciera McElroy | (407) 808-0890
 

U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking to Open Community Drop-In Center

TAMPA, FL, May 5, 2022: U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) is launching a Community Drop-In Center, providing trauma-informed resources for young victims of human trafficking, focusing on male victims in the Tampa Bay Area.
 

Since 2016, USIAHT has operated a Florida Safe House for male victims of human trafficking, the first and only of its kind in the country. The house served 32 youth from three different states and provided over 5,000 nights of refuge. The residential model allowed the Safe House to successfully rehabilitate boys who had been victims of human trafficking. On May 4, 2022, USIAHT officially closed the Florida Safe House in order to direct resources to the Community Drop-In Center.

 

“There is a better way to connect with a survivor,” says John Long, Executive Director at USIAHT. Long will oversee the program development at the new center. “This vision allows us to expand our reach. If we keep waiting for these youth to get ‘caught’ and referred to the Safe House, we will never win the battle. Our goal is to move upriver and find people who have been newly trafficked or are ready to get out. Connect them with resources. Support them. Love them. And watch their lives change.”

 

During a recent program audit, USIAHT discovered that many survivors report a preference for the drop-in model, as the necessary house rules of a safe home often reminded them of the lack of control they experienced while being trafficked. This new model will foster independence while providing even more life-changing resources.

 

The organization aims to generate its own referrals using technology to scrape websites with advertisements for purchasing sex. Long says they will also use this data to research the optimal location for the center.

 

“We will identify geographically the best logistical area for survivors to reach the center,” says Long. “Instead of anticipating referrals to come from other organizations, we will be able to meet the victims where they are.”

 

The Community Drop-In Center, which will be open and operational in early 2023, will serve as a safe space for transitional vulnerable youth and young adults, who seek independence and respite from trauma. The center will provide victim resources such as case management, counseling, education, tutoring, life skills, weekend workshops, and community events.

 

“We’re excited about this development, as it will help us reach more young people in need,” says Kevin Malone, former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager and Co-Founder and CEO of the USIAHT. “The people who come to our drop-in center will not be defined by the worst things that have happened to them. We want them to experience respect and dignity.”

 

The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) is a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization committed to ending human trafficking in the United States. With offices strategically located in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and Austin, USIAHT is aggressively focused on reducing the demand for human trafficking through community-based initiatives, trainings, and AI technology. To learn more, visit  www.usiaht.org.

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