Each year in the U.S. between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked. Sadly, this problem is also relevant in our own city. The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives the second most calls from Texas, with 15 percent of those calls coming from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
These numbers mean something needs to be done – people’s daughters, sons and mothers are being physically and emotionally abused. Thankfully, we have some wonderful organizations in Denton County already working to prevent and help heal victims of sex trafficking. The industry is growing, but that is not stopping these organizations from coming together to intervene and love our neighbors well.
Serve Denton organized a collaboration breakfast on Friday, December 4, for organizations that work with sex trafficking victims. We proposed creating a Denton County Human Trafficking Group, similar to a coalition, to share resources, help educate each other on the industry and better support our community as a whole.
At breakfast, each person explained his or her organization’s work – talk about informative! Kim Hinkle,
executive director of Journey to Dream, said, “One in three kids on the streets are approached by traffickers within the first 48 hours.” In light of this number, Journey to Dream is working towards renovating a building in north Lewisville to be an emergency shelter for homeless teenagers.
Founder of the Poiema Foundation, Rebecca Jowers told a story about a young, fourteen year-old victim of trafficking. Leslie (pseudonym) went to court. As she sat across from her perpetrator, she had no family or friends present to support. Her pimp, on the other hand, had his mother, who rented the hotel room for him to take advantage of this young girl, along with about 10 others sitting behind him. This is where Poiema comes into play – they send a team of seven women to support the victims when they have no one else. They enter into the hard times with the women and become their family!
This is all just the beginning! We are creating a Denton County Human Trafficking Group so we can collaborate together to eradicate sex trafficking in Denton County. If you would like to be involved in this collaboration, please contact our Collaboration Program Manager Hannah Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.