Most of you will never know what it is like to actually be a survivor of human trafficking. Yet according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 25% of all human trafficking victims in the United States are in Texas. Many of those are international victims brought to Texas for domestic servitude, sweat shops or sex slavery.
These men, women and children face challenges that native Texans would never even know existed. After they have been brought to police stations many times under arrest. Because although victims they are involved in a criminal activity and the police have to access the situation. If not they are taken in while the police decide the best course of action.Then they are taken to a safe house, or deported back to the country of origin. This depends on what the victim and service providers deemed best.
In North Texas there is a great non-profit Mosaic Family Services which provides needed services to victims of human trafficking, including shelter, clothing, food. Mosaic helps hundreds of people a year in North Texas and is so established in their work to end human trafficking in Texas that many human trafficking conferences request staff as guest speakers.
Even though in Texas there are great non-profits helping these victims the challenges they face in everyday life are difficult. One such challenge is the language barrier. Traffickers many times want the victims to only speak there native tongue giving the trafficker an immediate advantage. They have been locked away in slavery from anywhere from a few months to years so there exposure to english is very minimal.
Another challenge is the transit system. Most of the time when the victim leaves they have nothing with them but the clothes they are wearing. So they must learn the transit system in North Texas. As an experiment this weekend a friend of mine decided to take the public transportation system in Fort Worth and Dallas. It was fairly easy except for the fact that it took 3 hours of going through the system online and through the maps before the journey was made.
Their is no formula for victims of human trafficking but many times their education level is elementary school. When seeking employment this is another obstacle they have to face. The financial challenge that is upon our economy has also made it tougher for these victims to find employment.
Yet with all of these challenges daily these victims are survivors and have a determination to provide for their families, learn a new language and provide for themselves. They face their traffickers in court. The trauma of leaving the safe house after being the only safe place they lived in the U.S. These people show that inside their is a determination to move on, to live beyond the tragic event that changed their lives and made them slaves.