6 Ways We Fight For Freedom in Houston

6 Ways We Fight For Freedom in Houston

This post was featured in Southwest Airline’s blog!

Jasmin

‘Jasmin’ walked up to our table during one of our city outreach events. Intrigued, she cautiously inquired about our organization, United Against Human Trafficking (UAHT). After discovering a bit about us, she shared her own experiences: she had been trafficked.


Jasmin‘s exploitation occurred on and off for years. Using force, fraud, and coercion, her trafficker compelled Jasmin to work without pay as a housecleaner and have sex with strangers for his own profit.

No cages or chains like in the movies – the threat of violence, of withheld food or shelter were more than enough to keep Jasmin trapped.

Still, Jasmin tried to leave. But each time she managed to escape, the man reappeared in her life to derail itThe trauma she experienced, coupled with lack of  support, led a hopeless to Jasmin to becoming dependent on drugs an alcohol to cope.

UAHT’s Outreach team acted quickly. They helped Jasmin navigate the intake process at a local clinic and arranged for transportation – all during a standard tabling event. Now safe, Jasmin is on a journey to recovery from both exploitation and addiction.

And it all started because she felt safe enough with our team to share her story. 

 

United Against Human Trafficking Outreach Event in Houston Community

UAHT’s Outreach Team Acted Quickly

Since 2005, we have assisted and empowered human trafficking victims, survivors, and at-risk persons like JasminOur vision is a world without the trauma Jasmin experienced, with zero tolerance for the buying and selling of human life. We fight so that all may live free. 

UAHT began as a small volunteer coalition in Houston that formed in response to the area’s dire trafficking problem: major highways, thriving trade, proximity to a major border, and a booming sex industry all contribute to the Greater Houston Area’s hotbed of human trafficking.

Today, UAHT is a leader in the Greater Houston Area’s anti-trafficking movement, unifying organizations across the region to develop a strategic approach to ending exploitation for the purposes of sex AND labor.

We collaborate extensively with the Houston Mayor’s Officethe Houston Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and other governmental and nongovernmental entities to ensure trafficked persons are treated with the respect and autonomy they deserve.

Our goal at UAHT is to find and fill service gaps in our region. Trafficking victims are all too often hidden in plain sight due to stigma, ignorance, and fear. They often belong to marginalized groups such as the homeless, immigrants/refugees, LGBTQ+, the substance-dependent, the mentally ill, and survivors of domestic/sexual violence, who already face enormous struggles.

We go out into the community to identify these forgotten victims, help in any way we can, and equip them with the tools they need to break free when they’re ready. 

Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight due to stigma, ignorance, and fear

How We Fight for Freedom

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Our Groundbreaking New Program: Housing Assistance For Trafficking Survivors

Our Groundbreaking New Program: Housing Assistance For Trafficking Survivors

Dear Friend,

We hear this story far too often: a human trafficking survivor completes the first part of their recovery and then, after all that hard work and courage, they have so few options moving forward that they must return to the Life. 

It’s frustrating. It’s tragic. And most of all, it’s preventable.

With your support, UAHT is launching a groundbreaking new program: housing for trafficking survivors.

 Vanessa suffered trauma all her life: from childhood sexual violence to homelessness to substance abuse. This made her vulnerable to trafficker recruitment, and she eventually became trapped in sex trafficking.

Vanessa finally escaped and got help from a local victim services program. She is working tirelessly to process her experiences and prepare for a new life free from exploitation. 

Vanessa will exit the program soonShe has a job ready and new tools for coping with trauma… but no place to stay.

Lack of housing stability can be a major reason why survivors stay in trafficking situations or fall back into them.

Because how do you leave if you have nowhere to go?

Just $35 can give a survivor of exploitation a session with a case manager who can help them find housing. And $150 can provide them with supplemental peer support groups to build their own network of care.

The clock was ticking for Vanessa. Luckily, she got into contact with UAHT before services ended. Our Program Manager, Anna, reached out to partnering agencies for help.

Vanessa will get rental and deposit assistance while she finds her footing in her new life. 

Nobody should have to worry about not having a roof over their head at the end of the day. And nobody who worked so hard to forge a path to recovery should have to retrace their steps.

Your generosity has helped UAHT develop a program for people like Vanessa.

With this in mind, UAHT will launch our own housing program for survivors of human trafficking in early 2021.

ALL survivors deserve a bright future and a place to call their own. But not all of them get the chance. It is critical that Houston build up more housing programs to ensure survivors like Vanessa can access the support they need when they need it.

 

Please, make your tax-deductible year-end gift today to help more survivors keep moving forward. Thank you for continuing to fight exploitation!