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An estimated 40.3 million persons worldwide are victims of human trafficking, and one-fourth of them are children. Human Trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud, and coercion in order to profit from the exploitation of another human being.
States with the most human trafficking cases tend to be large border states, such as Texas and California. 313,000 people are trafficked in Texas each year, of that amount 79,000 were children and youth, according to a UT study released in January of 2017. Because of its connecting major highways, port cities, and the Mexican border, at least 20% of the US national trafficking victims travel through Texas at some point. Pimp-controlled and online-driven trafficking isn’t the only type of sex trafficking in the state. The commercial-front sex trafficking industry that uses debt bondage includes bars, cantinas, strip clubs, and illicit massage parlors. Texas is the 4th state in the nation for the concentration of Illicit Massage Business. If you suspect trafficking in Texas, please contact the Texas Abuse Hotline 800-252-5400.
Traffickers are eager to exploit children through illegal sexual acts for profit. To these criminals, it is easy money since humans can be used over and over again, unlike drugs or guns. Traffickers target vulnerable children and lure them into prostitution through psychological manipulation, drugs, and/or violence. They pretend to be loving and caring to their victim in order to establish their trust and loyalty. This bond with the trafficker ensures the child remains committed to the trafficker even after the child is rescued. According to Shared Hope International, the average age a child is first exploited is as young as 12. Once the child is indoctrinated into the life of prostitution, they accept the fact that a lifetime of sexual exploitation is what is expected which makes recidivism a huge issue for those who are trying to help survivors get out of their situation and heal.
According to the Texas Education Agency, “On any given day, there are approximately 16,000 school-aged children and youth in Texas schools who are in foster care”. Because they are already suffering emotionally, they are often targeted and exploited by traffickers. It has been reported that 87% of children being rescued from human sex trafficking have been in foster care at some point during their youth.
The solution lies in long term care with caregivers that have the heart of God and are committed for the long haul. We have seen children who have been deeply wounded by complex trauma and sex trafficking, heal and flourish in the right home. After being placed in a home where they feel safe with parents who are patient and understand trauma through our intensive training, children begin to trust again. We have also seen children placed in scenarios where they weren't provided with the ability to connect in meaningful long term relationships that continued to struggle for years. Chayah Ministries applies to all our human services, open hearts, kindness, understanding and connection.
9 years ago, one of our founders felt God calling her to serve him in an area that was breaking his Father's heart...human trafficking. She knew she was going to need to seek out and help women and children who were being sex trafficked and got right to it. Most weekends for over a year, she did street outreach with After Hours Ministry on the prostitution tracks in Los Angeles. She spoke where ever and whenever she was invited to speak to bring awareness to Ventura County, even though she was an introvert. She made a point to learn as much as possible and then passed on the information to other like minded individuals. She is a certified Hands that Heal Trainer and has trained and certified over 100 caregivers and advocates. She has worked with 100s of trafficking victims over the years, but has never stopped being shocked at the stories that she hears coming from the women and girls. The amount of healing it takes for these survivors to get back their self-worth, dignity, and some sense of normalcy is overwhelming, but with God, all things are possible and with a willing heart, God can make beauty from ashes.
The motivation, simply, is money. Human traffickers reap an estimated $150 billion per year in profits, about two-thirds of which is from commercial sexual exploitation.
There are so many ways one can get involved.
National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888)