I recently read a book called, Searching for Pilar, which was filled with a narrative of a sex-trafficking victim. It was a work of fiction, but could easily represent thousands of girls. The girl in this book was kidnapped from her home and brought to Houston to be raped and sold repeatedly for years until almost all hope was gone. This book was recommended to me because of my work in this industry and I wanted to include an outreach post after reviewing this book, sharing some of the ways you could help in this fight to rescue girls like Pilar and end sex trafficking.
There are so many ways to help from awareness to action depending on your comfort level. I started by just sharing events on my Facebook, to praying, to going out and working with the girls and now do a little of all the above. There are groups that go into brothels to pray with the girls, there are rallies to stand together outside popular strip malls to make men think twice before walking past to buy the girls, there are phone banks, and anything else you can imagine. There is a spot and a need for you.
My first suggestions would be to pray. Pray for the hearts of the men buying these women to change and the hearts of those selling them. Pray for healing, hope, and strength for the victims in this situation as well.
Another extremely easy method in getting involved that requires no effort at all is just to remember when shopping on Amazon to shop at smile.amazon.com.
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support. You can search "Trafficking" and find local charities supporting your cause. The one that introduced this to me was Free the Captives in Spring, Texas, so I've been slowly donating to them with each purchase I make.
If you are in Houston, I'd highly recommend taking a trip to 2nd Cup. If you like coffee or not this shop is entirely non-profit supporting multiple organizations. A few reasons why I'd recommend going is because they sell merchandise that rescued victims have made, they hold awareness discussions with local police and charities at their location, and they have a calendar events encompassing all local charities letting you know how you can get involved at any time. Besides all the above, their coffee is also pretty dang good.
A few of the charities that I have worked with in the Houston area are:
Redeemed Ministries (Sparrow House Botanicals)
Free the Captives (Purse Shop)
Elijah Rising (Kendleton Farms)
Rescue Houston (Phone Bank)
There are many more and please comment if you'd like me to add any both locally that I've missed in Houston or in your hometown.
Even if you don't feel comfortable going out and confronting this issue head on yet, you can still share and bring awareness. Also, most of the above charities have job programs for the victims to try to teach them practical skills and they then sale their products online to be able to bring in and support more girls. Below is a few of the products from each charity along with the aforementioned book featured.
Stay tuned for my review on 04/28/18 of Searching for Pilar and a chance to win a free copy of the book!
Also, if you ever are curious about a massage parlor go to https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/LicenseSearch or your local state licensing website to check if they have massage licences before going into a place and if you ever see anything suspicious call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888)373-7888. I've called to report a massage parlor staying that was staying open later than normal with dark shades and they are very understanding and you can remain completely anonymous, so don't hesitate.
If you don't live in Houston, there are still many ways you can help. My favorite since I travel a lot for work is an app called TraffickCam. It is a growing database of hotel room images that can be used to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms for online advertisements and they can use the pictures you take as evidence to identify the locations. It would take less than a minute to help this cause by opening the app, entering in your hotel name, then snapping a few pictures. No personal information needed. This program can either be downloaded as a free app (APPLE or ANDROID) or you can upload the pictures online on their website.
Let me know what causes you are passionate about and what charities you do work with in the comments below.