A whistleblower complaint revealed that the Department of Justice has given over $500,000 in anti-human trafficking grants to the organization “Hookers for Jesus” instead of the recommended charities.
A DOJ memo from September, obtained by Reuters, shows that two long-established nonprofits — Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach and Chicano Por La Causa of Phoenix — were well-rated by outside contractors and were originally on the anti-human trafficking grant program list as recommended grant winners.
DOJ employees have asked the agency’s Inspector General to look into a $530,000 anti-trafficking grant to a group called Hookers for Jesus. https://t.co/UL8dlNHeHS
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) February 10, 2020
However, the grant money was distributed between two organizations that contractors had given lower ratings, Hookers for Jesus and the Lincoln Tubman Foundation. Hookers for Jesus was given $530,190 and Lincoln Tubman Foundation was given $549,355, in grant money over three years. (Related: Trump Admin Pushes Back On Report Claiming Slow Efforts To Combat Human Trafficking)
Another memo obtained by Reuters says that the funding decision was made in order to “distribute funding across as many states as possible.” In December, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local 2830 filed a complaint asking the inspector general to investigate whether there were politics involved in deciding the two grant winners.
The Lincoln Tubman Foundation was founded by the daughter of a prominent local Republican who supported President Donald Trump as a delegate at the 2016 convention and is close to South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott. Chicanos Por La Causa has opposed the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, and the head of the Catholic Charities in Palm Beach has participated in past Democratic National Committees.
Hookers for Jesus is controversial for its strict rules in their safe house. Founded by former sex worker and sex trafficking victim Annie Lobert in 2007, the organization operates Destiny House, a one-year safehouse program for sex-trafficking victims and women trying to leave sex work.
The rules in the safehouse include banning “secular magazines with articles, pictures, etc. that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips,” and mandatory attendance of the organization’s Christian religious services, although Lobert denies that residents are forced to attend.
Hookers for Jesus also, according to reviewers, has little experience with males, minors, or foreign victims of human trafficking. The Lincoln Tubman Foundation, founded in 2018 by Brooke Burris, has “little to no experience” according to reviewers.