January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January 17, 2018

In 2017, approximately 79,000 children were victims of sex trafficking in Texas (Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault). Only 433 of those cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking hotline. Sadly, human trafficking in Texas (and beyond) happens often, and many community members may not even be aware of the enormity of this underground business.
“Human trafficking” can be defined as “modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act”. In the U.S., human trafficking is estimated to be the second most profitable form of transnational crime, just behind drug trafficking, and Texas ranks second for the most human trafficking. But it doesn’t stop there…
International Justice Mission reports that more than 40 million people worldwide are trapped in some form of slavery right now. That is equivalent to five times the population of New York City.
This problem is real and happening to millions of vulnerable people every minute of every day. Due to the hidden, “behind-the-scenes” nature of this illegal criminal activity, the magnitude of the problem is not regularly publicized unless a trafficker is caught or a victim is saved.
As we begin 2018, we felt called to bring attention to the global issue of slavery and human trafficking. These are not distant problems that take place overseas. They are prevalent, illegal activities take place discreetly in communities worldwide.
In an effort to end human slavery and protect vulnerable children and youth who are at risk of, or are, being trafficked locally or internationally, The Rees-Jones Foundation supports Dallas-based New Friends New Life and International Justice Mission, headquartered in Washington D.C.
New Friends New Life provides education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support for women, teens, and children. Their website is a great resource for more information and tips on “How to Protect Yourself” and “Ways to Prevent and Identify Human Trafficking”.
International Justice Mission operates 17 field offices throughout Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia where a team of lawyers, investigators, social workers, community advocates, and other professionals are working to “rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore victims, and strengthen justice systems”. Its programs are focused on slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality, property grabbing, and citizens’ rights abuse. Learn more.
In the United States, if you or someone you know needs immediate safety, call or text the National Trafficking Hotline:
Call: 1-888-373-7888
Text: BeFree the numbers “233373”
To better understand what sexual exploitation and trafficking looks like in America, consider watching the 2009 documentary, Playground.

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