Every day, 50 million people are being trafficked and exploited.
Here in Texas, over 313,000 men, women, and children are being trafficked TODAY.
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When most people think of sex trafficking, they imagine girls being kidnapped, held against their will, and sold for sex.
The reality is, it's just not that simple.
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
People's experiences of exploitation, abuse, powerlessness, and restriction operate on a continuum.
SCROLL BELOW FOR EXAMPLE STORIES:
A woman is in a manipulative marriage where her husband frequently drinks & gambles all of their money away. Through manipulation, he convinces her that if she loves him she’ll sleep with some of his friends to bring in more money for their family. Though she doesn’t really want to, she loves him & agrees in order to finance his addiction.
An 18 year old foster teen meets an older woman who quickly becomes her friend. The 18 year old needs money and has trouble finding a good job so the older woman begins introducing her to customers who will pay for sex. She is frequently abused by customers but continues doing the job to make money and keep up with her new friends.
A 35 year old woman can't find a job and migrates to a new country to work as a maid and send her children to school. When she arrives, her employer takes her passport and tells her she owes $5000 and must do prostitution to pay back that fraudulent debt. When she refuses, the employer assaults and threatens her until she concedes.
Having grown up in a poor and very religious family, a 16 year old girl is told it's time for her to marry. Her family finds her a nice, rich husband in a different country, collects a bride price, and signs marriage papers. When she arrives, he is twice as old as she thought and frequently abuses her. But she doesn't speak the language and she doesn't know how to leave.
A single mom of two kids has no job options and struggles to put food on the table. One of her friends introduces her to a pimp who tells her how much money she can make overseas in prostitution. Reluctantly, she agrees to go. Though she knew the job would be prostitution, she didn't know how abusive her customers and boss would be. She feels trapped.
A 23 year old undocumented migrant works at a massage parlor. After a few weeks, her boss tells her she must offer sexual services to customers. She's uncomfortable, but her boss tells her he'll report her to authorities and she'll be deported if she leaves. She's afraid of the police, so she stays quiet and continues in this work.
At Red Oak, we choose to focus on SEXUAL EXPLOITATION rather than only trafficking. We define sexual exploitation as the abuse of someone's vulnerabilities to obtain sexual favors, including but not limited to offering money or other social, economic, or political advantages.
Very few victims (some estimate less than 1%) are able to leave their exploitation and stay free long-term.
BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
WE'RE STOPPING TRAFFICKING AND EXPLOITATION ON A LARGE SCALE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY PROVIDING HOLISTIC CARE TO INDIVIDUALS ALREADY AFFECTED.
We collaborate with survivors, communities, and at-risk individuals to identify and provide creative solutions that break cycles of vulnerability and exploitation so that people can experience freedom, hope, and restoration on their journeys.
Our work focuses on three main areas of prevention, intervention, and restoration, with partnership and movement building woven throughout.