Butch noticed them as Nell was giving out information during the tour. They seemed particularly affected by the places they were seeing. They were on one of our ‘red light tours’ where we take folks around and show them where and how trafficking is happening in Houston. The next day, we received an email that explained their reaction. Four years earlier police had shown up at their door to confiscate computers and mobile devices. The man of the house had traveled a hideous journey that began with pornography, escalated to buying sex, to child pornography, and eventually to secretly filming his step daughter and selling the film online. Some of the places we were visiting were places he had frequented.
She came up to Nell immediately after the presentation. She was very engaged on this subject of human trafficking. That is not unusual for young adults. Many of them care deeply about the issue. Later when she sent us an email we understood better her concern. Sexually abused as child, she was forced into the sex industry at the age of 14. We met her as a young 20 something. She escaped the industry the year before. Now she wants to come alongside others who are trying to help victims such as herself.
To border patrol he was just another Mexican trying to cross the border. He was caught and sent back with no questions asked. Unbeknownst to them, he was being smuggled across by traffickers. He was caught once, twice, but the third time made it across. His traffickers told him they would release him if he would pay them $10,000. When he assured them that he did not have that kind of money, they contacted his sister in New York. They told her that if she did not send the money, they would behead him. He was eventually found chained outside a restaurant where he was being forced to work.
Besides awareness events, the Greens have worked at forming a coalition between border gateway cities in Texas and destination cities. Training, resourcing, raising awareness and helping victims are areas the coalition is addressing. The Greens are currently working on efforts to prepare for the increase of trafficking that will happen during the 2017 Super Bowl which will take place in Houston. A conference they are helping to host one week before the Super Bowl will address issues that increase the vulnerability to trafficking. Issues such as gender, race, poverty, pornography, are just a few of the issues that will be addressed. We all have a part to play in stopping the buying and selling of people. The Super Bowl is not so super when this accompanies it. As you prepare to watch Super Bowl 2016 this Sunday, please pray for the work in Houston preparing for next year's event!