A whistleblower complaint has been filed with the Department of Justice's inspector general, questioning $530,000 in anti-human-trafficking grant funds awarded to Christian ministry Hookers for Jesus, according to a new report.
What are the details?
Reuters published an exclusive report on Monday detailing that a Department of Justice employees' union is complaining that two organizations recommended for anti-trafficking funds "by career DOJ officials" were passed over for Hookers for Jesus in Nevada and a South Carolina group called the Lincoln Tubman Foundation.
The whistleblowers say outside contractors recommended "Tier 1" organizations — the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach and Chicanos Por La Causa of Phoenix — but those "long-established non-profits" were passed over. Hookers for Jesus and the Lincoln Tubman Foundation were ranked as "Tier 2" by outside reviewers.
The complaint is asking the IG to investigate whether politics played a part in the decision. According to Reuters, "Chicanos Por La Causa has opposed the Trump administration's immigration policies," while "the head of Catholic Charities in Palm Beach has participated in past Democratic National Committees as a delegate or standing committee member."
Hookers for Jesus fell under scrutiny for allegedly requiring their trafficking victims to attend church services, a claim founder Annie Lobert denies.
"We are not going to discriminate toward anyone," Lobert told the outlet. "But, we are Christian. And there is an understanding before they come in here that we are Christian."
The $530,000 to Hookers for Jesus will be paid out over three years. Another $549,345 will be paid out over three years to the Lincoln Tubman Foundation, which was "launched 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," Reuters' Sarah Lynch writes.
The DOJ's Office of Justice Programs awarded $53 million in taxpayer funds to 77 groups in 2019 for the purpose of assisting human trafficking victims.