January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and New Life Refuge Ministries has some great opportunities for you to help bring awareness to the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking.
Special to Inspire Coastal Bend
Did you know domestic minor sex trafficking victims endure tremendous physical and emotional abuse? They are isolated from society and brainwashed to believe no one cares about their well-being. They are robbed of their self-esteem and their ability to think for themselves, and they are led to believe that “turning tricks” is all they are good for. This crime does not discriminate, and the victims can be girls or boys of any race and from wealthy or poor families.
The most important needs these kids have are food, rest and a safe place to live. That is where the Home of Hope being built by New Life Refuge Ministries (NLRM) comes in. We are working to provide a safe, home-like environment for rescued victims where they can heal from their trauma and learn their true purpose in life. NLRM offers individual programs that include counseling, life skills training, schooling and many different therapies.
These young victims are manipulated into believing that this way of life is only temporary and is the means to an idyllic end. Traffickers say things like, “Once we build our empire together, you and I can get married and start a family, and you can have everything you dreamed of.” Simultaneously, they label them as “whores” and make it clear they can never go back to being normal now that they have sold themselves for sex. Often, the only hope a victim sees for a future is the one the sex trafficker promises, and that will only happen if the captive keeps up her end of the bargain and brings in the money.
The need for a place such as the NLRM Home of Hope is paramount for the recovery of a young person who has endured this level of trauma. Texas has the second highest reported incidences of trafficking of youth in our nation, and there are only 26 beds that are specified for this population in the state of Texas. There are currently no beds in South Texas for underage victims of sex trafficking.
To further elaborate on the need for housing in our area, on multiple occasions, Corpus Christi police have recovered teenage girls being sold. There were 29 underage victims of sex trafficking identified in our city last year, and victims continue to be frequently identified in our area. The police had no safe place to take them to get the care they needed.
Please join us as we praise the efforts of our local law enforcement and district attorney’s office for the arrest and conviction of the first tried sex trafficker in our region. He was found guilty of continuous sex trafficking of a minor and sentenced to 40 years in state prison, and he will not be eligible for parole until 2036.
About New Life Refuge Ministries
New Life Refuge Ministries is a 100 percent volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization is run by Minta Moore, executive director, and an executive board of directors led by Katie Howell, board president, and Cathy Cole-Perez, board vice president. Other directors include Kate Bean, board secretary, and John Moore, board treasurer. The board of directors also includes: Amie Riner, Claudia Schmidt, Sarah Murphy, Meridith Carter, Cassandra Strom, Nathan Hardin and Holly Duvall. We also have an active advisory committee and multiple volunteers in the community.
If you are interested in volunteering for or fundraising with New Life Refuge Ministries, visit our website at www.newliferefuge.com, and please attend the following events: Proclamation at City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 10; Julian Gold Fashion Show on Friday, Jan. 13; and Celebration of Courage Boots and Bling Ball on Jan. 27.
This article was provided by New Life Refuge Ministries Executive Director Minta Moore. For more information, visit New Life Refuge Ministries online at www.newliferefuge.com.