FBI Honors Baltimore Shelter Program
By: Kristin Mudge
Catherine’s Cottage, a special anti-human trafficking ministry of The Salvation Army in Baltimore, was recently honored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its partnership in protecting the most vulnerable in their community and working to reduce violent crime in America. Since its opening in May of 2017, Catherine’s Cottage has been providing emergency shelter and supportive services to human trafficking survivors in Baltimore.
The house was donated to The Salvation Army by a local charity. Its perfect use as a unique shelter was quickly identified by local Salvation Army leadership. The home was remodeled and repurposed to meet the desperate needs of trafficked women needing a quick escape from their difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Central Maryland Area Command states that through this program, “almost 75 individuals have received shelter and supportive wraparound services. Those served have been victims of both sex trafficking and labor trafficking and have ranged in age from 19 to 64… We support cottage patrons spiritually, mentally, and holistically. We provide love beyond basic human needs after surviving trauma.”
Dina Jones, program director of Catherine’s Cottage said in a recent interview, “One thing that I personally love about Catherine’s Cottage, and I love about our staff here is that we provide a safe space for everyone to come through, a place of freedom, a place of acceptance, a place of… expression. Here at Catherine’s Cottage there’s no judgement, there’s no discrimination. We are a family.”
On May 5, 2023, Catherine’s Cottage was formally honored at a ceremony at the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. for winning the FBI Baltimore Division’s Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA). The annual award was established in 1990 to publicly recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations working to make a difference in their communities through the promotion of education and the prevention of crime and violence.
“It’s a great honor to win this award,” Dina Jones said. “We were nominated by one of our FBI agents that we work with for exceptional work surrounding trafficked survivors. Our collaboration with the FBI and law enforcement has successfully saved lives.”
The Salvation Army has been on the frontlines serving survivors of human trafficking since 1885 when 30 rescue homes were opened for women and girls coming out of trafficking.