POSTED: Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 9:49pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 9:54am
Whitehouse, TX — Missy Zivney, the Assistant Director of Refuge of Light explains the growing epidemic of young children who are subjected to sex trafficking right here in East Texas, "What we've seen here locally a lot of is mothers that have a huge drug habit and they're actually selling their children, their young girls to their drug dealers."
Zivney says, "Children have now become a commodity, drugs and weapons, you can sell those one time; but you can sell a child repeatedly up to 10, 15, 20 times a night and they can earn up to $200,000 per year."
But Zivney explains, an even larger problem is—people aren't aware of this happening,"We don't want to accept that this is a reality but statistically there are 100 to 300 thousand children at risk for this type of criminal activity."
Zivney says there is a very big drug problem in East Texas, and where they is drug trafficking, there is sex trafficking, she says, " drugs and sex trafficking, often times those go hand in hand."
Dr. Ann Abrameit, a volunteer for Refuge of Light says, the most important thing is to let people know this problem is real, "If we can bring awareness, get a safe place built for girls that are already in the trade than that would be our hope."
Refuge of Light has a goal, it's to build a shelter, or a safe-house for the children who have been through the tragedy of sex trafficking.
Zivney says, "With refuge of light we want to provide them a home, as if they were my very own children, I have four children, and when I look at these children I see the face of my children and I want to provide the best opportunity for them and the best future that they could possibly have."
Another realization of this problem Zivney says, these children are being "sold" on-line. On various websites, and that people have to recognize that this is a problem in order to find a solution.
Refuge of Light is asking 500 Churches to make a $2,500 donation in 2012 to raise $1.2 million to build, furnish and provide the amenities for a safe-home in Texas. Sunday School groups, civic organizations and individuals are encouraged to donate, also. The home will provide long-term placement for young girls rescued out of a life where they have been victimized by commercial sexual exploitation (sex trafficking). This Refuge will give them a hope for a new future filled with mentorship opportunities, counseling, medical assistance, on-site education, pet therapy and a variety of ways in which they can witness the love of Christ through everyday opportunities.
For more information on how you can donate or if you may know of a child who may be involved in sex trafficking or live with a parent who is abusing drugs and may be subjected to sexual crimes please visit:
WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:
A trafficked person may…
•Have injuries or signs of physical abuse.
•Seem disoriented and not know where her or she is.
•Have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes regardless of the weather or circumstances.
•Not have identification documents.
•Avoid eye contact and appear hesitant to talk to strangers.
•Be fearful of authority figures, especially law enforcement.
•Rarely be allowed to come and go independently and may be accompanied by someone who controls their every movement.
•Work excessively long hours.