By age 16, Mya was familiar with life on the streets. She was pimped out for sex and forced into young motherhood. Shuffled between multiple foster homes, she finally ran away. Bounced around from facility to facility, program to program, her rough exterior made it difficult for people to see her story. She was a child trafficked for sex, a victim labeled as problem. As a result, she cycled through juvenile detention facilities. She was overlooked by society, like many of our youth after criminalization.
Mya is one of many teens who were either roaming the streets of Houston or locked away. Mya lacked an advocate for her story.
She needs someone to help her find her voice. She needs someone to give her care.
To help serve youth like Mya, we created a trauma-centered program, Real Talk, to identify and empower trafficked persons. Traveling to schools, jails, juvenile detention centers, and homeless shelters, we create a safe space for victims to reveal their stories.
These teens learn how to articulate and recognize the exploitation they endured. We lead them through conversations about how to process and cope. After ten weeks together, many begin to regain a sense of trust in themselves and the world around them.
Now, Mya is currently receiving services through the Texas’s Child Sex Trafficking Continuum of Care. She is no longer exploited. She is not overlooked. Instead, she is treated with the humanity and respect she deserves. She is receiving the necessary care from professionals who are working to restore her to a life of freedom.
You can be a part of this story. You can give freedom and hope to minors. With your partnership, we can continue to expand Real Talk into schools, jails, detention centers, and residential facilities. There are other children, just like Mya, who are overlooked. They are stuck in a cycle of care that does not address their trauma.
As we look ahead to 2019, we see a year of hope. Multiple counties are requesting our help to identify and assist minor victims of trafficking. We regularly receive calls to help with teen boys who need Real Talk, and UAHT to be their advocate. We can answer these calls with your support.
During this season of giving, you can give the gift of freedom. Freedom is tangible and experienced every day by those we help. Freedom is Mya leaving her trafficker, and transforming from victim to survivor.
You can be a part of that story. Will you help us?
Please thoughtfully consider a life-saving year end gift to combat the evil of trafficking in Houston, to provide a way out for those who are in desperate need. Your donation will help propel our ability to bring freedom and support to many, many more teens like Mya.
Thank you! We wish you and yours a happy season celebrating freedom and this joyous life.
Timeka Walker, LMSW