10 March 2012

Human Slaves in Houston

Solitude by Gari Hatch. Used by permission.

The startling truth is there are more human slaves alive today than ever in history. Houston, Texas, where I live, is a hub for human trafficking. Here are a few sobering bullet points:

  • There are over 6,000 runaways in Houston and 1 of 3 children who run away is lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.

  • The Texas border is North America’s number one supply site for young children used in sex and labor trafficking.

  • Texas houses the I-10 corridor, which the Department of Justice designated as the number one route for human trafficking.

Unfortunately, few victims escape alive, but recently I heard about one such girl. You can see her video interview on Fox News Houston. Here is an excerpt from that source.

FoxHouston Reports:
In Mexico there aren't many opportunities for girls like Maria except the promise of love.

"A man made me fall in love with him in Mexico. I was in love with him. I loved him very much because he was my first boyfriend," she said through a translator.

Three years ago that boyfriend, a man twice her age, smuggled the then 16-year-old from Mexico to a home in Houston. He told her dreams come true here. But in Houston her nightmare began.

"I would cry out of desperation," she said.Maria's so called boyfriend put her to work almost immediately as a sex slave at apartment complexes and inside cantinas. It happened she says:

"Everyday, six to seven days a week. Depending on the day I'd have sex with seven to ten men a night during the week and on weekends 20 to 30 men a night."Maria earned up to $5,000 a week.

She says she got to keep nothing.

"It used to be a daily routine. When I woke up he was always there. He would take me to work in the afternoon, and he would pick me up from work. It was always the same. The day I was off I would spend it with him."

At night Maria dreamt of running away, but the climate of fear was enough to keep her mentally tied down.

"He used to tell me he was going to beat me up if I would talk including that I could not call Mexico because he was always there checking up on me, and sometimes he really beat me up."

Three months later, with help, Maria was able to reach out to family who contacted law enforcement. She was rescued.

Thank God this girl was saved. Her story fills my heart with anger and shame. I am glad she was rescued but why did she have to endure such crimes against God and humanity. The more pertinent question is what can we do? The first thing we can do is pray. I say that with all seriousness. I know prayer is counter intuitive in this instance. This problem is so huge, so entrenched, and so lucrative for the perpetrators that it seems impossible to solve. That is why I say prayer is the first step. Out of serious and sustained prayer we may be given a direction to take. Doing nothing is not right. We must start somewhere. I say start with prayer on our knees. After we get good at that we will begin to pray with our feet. That means we will take action. You tell me what that strategy looks like. I'm listening.