Collaboration Creates Center for Human Trafficking Victims
By Liam Farrell
Courtesy of UMD SAFE Center
The University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore have joined up to provide shelter and services for some of the area’s most vulnerable people.
The new University of Maryland SAFE (Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors provides case management, counseling, legal and other services for adult and child victims of sex and labor trafficking. Located in College Park, the center focuses on Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and will collaborate with community organizations to conduct research and advocate for new policies. Last year, 118 cases of human trafficking were reported in Maryland, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
“These young people have survived betrayal and violence and desperately need this safe harbor to rebuild their lives,” UMD President Wallace D. Loh said at the center’s opening in May. “The services they receive through this strategic partnership will truly empower their recovery.”
The collaboration is part of the two universities’ MPowering the State initiative, which seeks to improve academic programs, technological research and commercialization, and public service by bringing together the complementary resources of each institution: the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs and research of UMD; and the professional and graduate schools for doctors, nurses, lawyers and more at UMB.
That alliance will expand under state legislation that takes effect Oct. 1. UMB will open a Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures, and UMD will create a Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development. The latter will develop degree and credential programs for virtual and augmented reality, neurosciences, biomedical devices, data analytics and cybersecurity.
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