The NoVo Foundation has announced grants totaling $10 million in support of efforts to reduce and prevent commercial sexual exploitation.
Part of a three-year commitment launched in 2019, Life Story Grants awarded by the New York City-based foundation are designed to support systems change at thirteen turning points that can determine whether girls and women enter the sex trade — and whether they are able to find ways to leave it — as described in The Life Story: Moments of Change, an online platform created to elevate the voices of survivors. To that end, grants were awarded to support and amplify the efforts of underserved leaders and foster collaboration among national and community-based organizations working to address the short-term needs of survivors of commercial sexual exploitation while advancing long-term solutions designed to help foster care, healthcare, immigration, housing, law enforcement, and other systems better respond to survivors and their communities.
Selected in consultation with a Survivor Advisory Board, the fifteen grant recipients include AEquitas, which will use the funds to improve prosecutors' practices; AnnieCannons, which provides coding and tech training to survivors of human trafficking; Empower Her Network, which helps survivors access housing, education, and employment; Legal Aid Chicago and Mujeres Latinas En Accion in support of their Latinas Empowerment and Advancement Project (LEAP); The Lighthouse /Black Girls Projects, which takes a holistic approach to leadership development for African-American girls and women; and the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, which is working to provide "exit ramps" from the sex trade for transgender women of color.
"Survivors who actively seek out the justice system's intervention, as well as those who intersect with it collaterally as witnesses or as defendants charged with a crime, must be identified as such," AEquitas states on its website. "The ability of prosecutors and allied professionals to do so — and in turn to direct survivors to an exit ramp — is paramount for survivor empowerment, community safety, and prevention."
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