Sex trafficking continues to be a growing problem across the state of Texas. With thousands of victims across the state that we know of and hundreds of cases in Lubbock in the last decade, what many people don’t understand is how often children involved in the foster care system can fall victim to sex trafficking.
Many local organizations are on the forefront to help end human trafficking by spreading awareness through the community. Kristen Murray is the Executive Director for Voice of Hope, and she said trafficking schemes are different in every city, and in the hub city, most cases mimic domestic violence situations.
“What we see are what we call boyfriend pimps, and so they are stepping in that role of providing that love and relationship which is obviously a very unhealthy love and relationship,” Murray said. “But if that’s all they have that’s what they will flock to.”
Chiemsee Hagy is the Director of Community Liaison for Saint Francis Ministries and she said children involved in the foster care system can come from hard places and sometimes lack the background of a stable support system to warn them of unsafe situations.
“These traffickers buy them things, take them to get their nails done, pay for their phone bills, and give them a place to stay,” Hagy said. “So to these kids who have never experienced a real family or support system before, to them that is their family.”
But both women agree there is something we can all do to end human trafficking. If you see something say something.
“We all have instincts and if those hairs on the back of your neck stand up you need to be paying attention because something is going on,” Murray said. “You absolutely don’t need to intervene for your safety and the safety of that victim because if it is a trafficking situation then we’ve now put them in harms way.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing a trafficking situation, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.