Trump admin abruptly delays funding for human trafficking victims: report

The Trump administration has unexpectedly postponed $13.5 million in grant funding intended to house human trafficking victims, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

Five days after the administration updated the funding on Sept. 4 so that it also would help noncitizens, the federal government's grant website said the funding was canceled and not accepting applications, according to NBC.

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The grant was expected to provide housing and supportive services for victims of sex and labor trafficking, according to the notice of funding availability.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was supposed to take the lead on handing out the grant money, with help from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to NBC News.

A spokesman for HUD told The Hill that the grant was "never 'cancelled'" but confirmed it was postponed.

"They have simply been postponed, as responsibilities for the program have been delegated to the Department of Justice, where money for the program was appropriated by Congress,” the spokesman said.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Warren, Brown press IRS on study reviewing Free File program Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (D-Ohio) sent a letter to both the DOJ and HUD denouncing the departments for the delay in funding with "little explanation or official notice to the public."

"This is unacceptable and will have real consequences for organizations working with trafficking survivors," he wrote.

"A decision to postpone these housing and services grants into oblivion will be a decision to waste anti-trafficking resources already on the table," he added. 

Katherine Chon, the director of HHS’s Office of Trafficking in Persons, said in a statement that her office "supports housing and other services for survivors of human trafficking through a national network of more than 200 community organizations."

The DOJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.

—Updated Oct. 2 at 4:17 p.m.