SAFE Center and University of Maryland Capital Region Health Awarded Grant

Posted on November 30, 2022

The Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, in partnership with the University of Maryland Capital Region Health (UM Capital), a $799,878 grant to establish a comprehensive human trafficking response and referral pathway in five units at UM Capital Region Medical Center in Prince George’s County.

The SAFE Center will work with UM Capital to implement the Serve, Identify, Respond, and eValuate (SIRV) Model at the hospital, which the SAFE Center jointly developed with the Maryland Hospital Association and Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force in 2019.  The model is aimed at improving identification of and response to victims of sex and labor trafficking within healthcare systems by providing best practices for screening, identification, and support of victims in a medical setting.

The OVC Services for Victims of Human Trafficking grant, awarded annually to victim service organizations focusing on the development and expansion of services for survivors, will fund the SAFE Center’s implementation of this model across five service areas within UM Capital’s Medical Center, including the Emergency Room; Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center; OB/GYN; Behavioral Health; and Outpatient Clinic.

“When hospitals partner with community-based organizations to address the needs of the County, we are accelerating our mission,” said Nathaniel Richardson, Jr., President and CEO, University of Maryland Capital Region Health. “It is an honor to receive this grant and we look forward to working in collaboration with the SAFE Center to implement a response model that will address and reduce the instances of human trafficking in Prince George’s County.”

“We are so proud that the University of Maryland’s SAFE Center and University of Maryland Capital Region Health are the recipients of a grant that will support human trafficking response and efforts within the hospital,” said Prince George’s County Executive Alsobrooks. “Victims of human trafficking are often identified by law enforcement, service providers, faith-based institutions, and medical settings, and this grant will support the appropriate training for medical professionals within the University of Maryland Capital Region to ensure that Prince George’s County is doing its part to identify and provide high-quality services to trafficking victims. The UMD SAFE Center works very closely with the Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force and we will continue to support community and stakeholder awareness and comprehensive services to trafficking victims.”

Implementation of this model at UM Capital, the second busiest trauma center in Maryland and largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Prince George’s County, will empower healthcare workers to identify trafficking risk and offer evidence-based, trauma-informed, patient-centered support to individuals who have experienced trafficking or are at high risk. This project will serve as a pilot for the implementation of the SIRV model, with the intention of scaling the model to other hospitals in the system.

“We are excited to work with the hospital to improve outcomes for survivors of trafficking in Prince George’s County,” said Ambassador Susan Esserman, JD, founder and director of the SAFE Center. “Putting this model into action is just the first step towards ensuring that medical facilities across the state are well equipped to provide the best care possible to victims of trafficking.”

“Implementing this model in hospitals gives healthcare workers a critical, uniform tool to help identify victims of human trafficking and get them on the path to supportive resources immediately,” said Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)). “We are proud that the SAFE Center played a role in developing the SIRV model.”

An initiative of UMB and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) through its formal partnership for innovation and impact, University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, the SAFE Center provides free, survivor-centered and trauma-informed services to victims of trafficking that empower survivors to heal and reclaim their lives, while working to prevent trafficking and better serve survivors through research and policy advocacy.

Read the full release here.