In case you missed it, here is the text of Sydney Dunlap’s important message last Sunday about the Trinity Anti-Trafficking project.
The Anti-Trafficking Project at Trinity was formed as a response to the enormous tragedy of human trafficking that is taking place in and around Houston.
The average age of kids lured into trafficking is between 12 and 14 years old. Local girls are often found on social media and tricked into believing that someone is taking a special interest in them, and by the time they realize what is going on, it is too late.
Houston is a hub for both international and domestic trafficking. International human trafficking is prevalent in Houston because this city is located near the border, has a port, an international airport, and is ethnically diverse. Additionally, many kids trafficked in Houston were born and raised here. Human trafficking does not discriminate and affects mostly girls but also some boys from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
While it is true that there are children who are at higher risk for becoming victims, such as runaways, all children are at risk.
A lack of awareness in our country coupled with the explosion of the Internet makes the job of the recruiter extremely easy, and the job of law enforcement extremely difficult. The scope of this horrific crime seems impossible, but each person can make a difference. One way parents can help is by teaching their children about the traps traffickers set for them and knowing the red flags to watch for.
The Trinity Anti-Trafficking Project has the goal of partnering with non-profit anti-trafficking organizations to help prevent trafficking by spreading awareness, helping to identify and locate trafficking victims, and empowering them after rescue.
A group of parishioners began meeting last year and researching different anti-trafficking organizations. We were very happy to find out about Traffick911, an award-wining Dallas-based anti-trafficking group that was recently recognized by Homeland Security Investigations as a most-valued partner in this battle to save our children from human trafficking.
This group has identified and/or assisted 694 (and counting) victims and works in close partnership with law enforcement, which has led to multiple state and federal felony arrests and convictions. When I contacted one of the leaders of Traffick911, she was so glad to hear about our interest in working together. They had expanded to Houston, but had not yet begun work in The Woodlands and welcomed us as partners in their growing ministry.
In January, we held a Traffick911 volunteer training session here at Trinity, which 17 people attended, including 12 people from Trinity or St. Isidore’s, and five others from the community. We also held an information session for others who wanted to learn more about human trafficking and the work that is being done, and we are in the process of setting up another volunteer training session for those attendees who have decided they’d like to get involved.
Members of our outreach team are being trained as program presenters to raise awareness in the community at churches, schools, and local events, as well as through juvenile detention center outreach. Others are being trained to help locate trafficking victims as part of the Internet Surveillance Team.
We are also fundraising to help support rescued victims who need case management, outpatient services, trauma-informed counseling, mentoring, residential and or mental health treatment, and other referral services.
I wanted to especially thank the Pearls and Prayers group for supporting us this year at the Advent Alternative Gifts Market, as well as everyone who bought their beautiful products or contributed directly to us.
Our latest effort is providing a food booth as we did last year at an annual 5K anti-trafficking fundraising run/awareness festival on April 22 in Houston. If you would like to find out more about the event or to donate food for the booth, there is information in the Weekly Tidings and email announcements.
Thank you for your support of this ministry.