NIOC is committed to defending our city, our families, and our children against traffickers and their tactics. We believe “knowledge is power” and awareness battles the dark and hidden world of sex trafficking by forcing it into the light. Awareness is futile if not followed up with movement and action. We will deploy knowledgeable and concerned citizens and activists into our city to be agents of change. We also believe that winning this battle takes a large army. It is our mission to be a place of connection for all entities involved in this fight. We are part of a collaboration of Houston-area non-profits that bring together our resources and knowledge to make a difference in this multifaceted problem.
We feel that resources and knowledge, in a collective effort, not only uncover the systemic plague of sex trafficking, but also reduce and can someday completely eliminate its demand.
Know the 6-Step Recruiter Process
"This 6 STEP PROCESS being used on our urban and suburban students to
RECRUIT them into prostitution and trafficking is well thought out and EFFECTIVE! "
(father of a survivor)
Pimps and Recruiters are in our schools and churches!
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 1 IS TO ESTABLISH TRUST:
This step starts with identifying a target. The targets who are most at risk are girls with low self-esteem or girls who are struggling with school work, friends or family. After a target is identified things proceed in a way that seems innocent and remains that way for many weeks or months. The ‘friend’ that starts this process is not always a guy. At this point, a pimp may not be directly involved. The friend will be someone completely non-threatening. It is often a girl (a few years older). Its very likely that this girl is a previous victim who became a recruiter or "groomer" as a means to escape being trafficked.
The new friend takes your daughter/son places, she is fun, she has a lot of advice, and gives the impression that she is sort of a mentor. They usually receive some type of support (money, drugs, etc.) that helps them recruit effectively.
PARENTS: It is hard to recognize this step, but there are things you can monitor. Look for new friends and be inquisitive about their parents, background, living arrangements, etc. If they are a new friend...find out who have they been hanging out with before your child. Dig into the new friend's, circle of friends, by talking to other parents or the school. Go through pictures on your child's phone, look for new hangouts or hobbies. Changes that the new friend introduces, should raise questions and investigation.
They make sure your child has "fun" and feels a sense of independence
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 2 IS TO INTRODUCE A SOURCE (OR INCREASE THE LEVEL) OF FRICTION IN THE RELATIONSHIPS AT HOME:
The friend introduces drugs and /or alcohol. If the targeted teen has already experimented, the groomer will increase the frequency of use and ease of access. They will make them feel as if "everyone is doing it" (at least all the cool people) and they are awkward if they don't.
PARENTS: Many kids experiment during this time of their life. If you see or suspect any drug or alcohol use deal with it early. Find out whether it was experimenting with good friends they have had for a while, or whether it is the result someone new on the scene. If is it someone new, I would be more concerned about a possible trafficking connection.
They want to turn them against you.
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 3 IS TO DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN THE TEEN AND THE FAMILY:
The groomer will be very polite in front of parents, but when alone the groomer is constantly berating parents. “Your mom is such a b*&%#…... She treats you like a child.” “Your father grounded you for that? He never lets you do anything.” “I bet you can’t wait to get out of that house.” Every teenager goes through a time when they feel as though you are strict unreasonable. The groomer validates your child's thoughts and thus creates more trust with them and less with you. It is usually at this point that a consistent theme/message, "Let me know if you ever need a place to stay", begins to appear.
PARENTS: My advice is...try not to fight about source (new friends) of the friction. Try to use firm reasoning and love as the basis for all discipline. Engaging in a fight or simply putting your foot down (i.e. "I am your father/mother, and you will do as I say!") actually works to the advantage of the recruiters trying to drive a wedge between you and your child.
They are separated from old friends and introduced to new "friends" who are "more fun".
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 4 IS TO SEPARATE THEM FROM OLD FRIENDS WHO SHARE THEIR CORE VALUES.
The new friends understand the teen. They accept them and support them. They stop hanging out with their old friends and even their very best childhood friend.
You may run into their best friend's parents who say they haven't seen your child lately. Then you may realize your child was supposed to have recently spent the night at their home. You realize the person who has been your child's best friend for the past multiple years, isn't around anymore. This should REALLY alarm you!
PARENTS: Once the traffickers take the victim through step 4 your child is in REAL and IMMEDIATE DANGER! Consider intervention, residential counseling away from their "friends". Think about moving the child away to live with a relative in another state, or moving the whole family. It sounds drastic but it is logical!
They convince them that they can have a "better" life. They tell them that things parents warned them, about are simply because parents don't understand their generation.
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 5 IS TO DISORIENT THE VICTIM'S MORAL COMPASS:
The groomer knows this really cool guy. He is an up and coming rapper. Sometimes he works as a DJ at some of the coolest clubs in town. He is fun, has money, and is always on his way to a party. After a friendship develops he offers to get your teen into a club even though she is underage. He is working a private party and can put her on the guest list. That happens a time or two.
The teen gets to sneak a few drinks at the club and hang out with a group of people who are four or five years older. The people at the club fawn over the teen and make her feel very special. The new group of friends reinforce the same idea the groomer started. “Your parents are the worst. If you ever need a place to stay just give me a call.”
There is a guy that your child met a couple months ago who is friendly and nice. It turns out he not only smokes pot, but he deals a little on the side.
That cool girl they met who is so pretty and funny. She has her own apartment and seems to have money. Another new friendship is developing. Then it is revealed that the cool girl is a dancer. She dances in videos and makes appearances at clubs with the rapper and gets paid for it. "Can you believe that?" "Life is so easy when you are pretty and cool." "Who needs college or parents?"
PARENTS: When things have reached this point it is difficult to turn around but not impossible. Be looking for signs that your child is exposed to or participating in activities that are normally forbidden. If you haven't already attempted intervention with a survivor or support organization, or if you haven't removed the teen from the environment, you are running out of time...DO IT NOW!!!
And then...they take your daughter or son and make $ on them. ONLY 1 to 2% ARE RESCUED AFTER THIS STEP!!!
THE PURPOSE OF STEP 6 IS TO TAKE YOUR CHILD AWAY FROM YOU THROUGH BRAINWASHING, COERCION, KIDNAPPING, OR A COMBINATION OF THE THREE.
They take advantage of the right opportunity when it presents itself. It could be the teen getting into trouble or fighting with the parents. Or it could be an offer to take a ride with the rapper right after their 18th birthday.
It happens with younger teens too, but a girl who just turned 18 is a real target. Your daughter goes to a party and disappears. If she is 18, law enforcement is handcuffed. Unless there is clear evidence of a crime, she is just another young adult who decided to leave home.
If the people who led her away can keep for three weeks, the chances that you will ever see your daughter again, decrease significantly!
PARENTS: Know your options for recovery and support. Come up with an action plan to execute if your child disappears. Introduce yourself to the people and organizations you will need. Establish a code word that your child can use if they want out. They won't want to hear it now, but they might remember it when they need it.
Helpful Materials for Parents.
For Parents: 5 Discussion Topics on Trafficking
A quick and handy reference guide to get conversations initiated with your children. The first line of defense starts with their awareness.
For Parents: 8 tips on keeping your child safe from sex trafficking
The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the US is 12-14 years old. This guide give practical and broad parenting guidelines to help create a safer and more aware home.
For Parents: Red flags from your children
Sex-trafficking relies on heavy manipulation from the traffickers. Too often, the manipulation is so entrenched, that by the time the victims are captured, they are reluctant to being rescued. This postcard will help you get to know the the obvious — and not so obvious — warning signs.
Closer to Home: 5 Things you need to know about Human Trafficking in Katy, TX
Human trafficking is a CRIME committed when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to work for little or no wages or to commit acts of commercial sex. This is modern day slavery. There are more slaves in the world today than at any point in history. 45.8 million globally. (Global Slavery Index) It is the fastest growing criminal activity today.
Human trafficking is EVERYWHERE. Not only are people trafficked and forced into labor or the sex industry in other countries, but also here in the United States. Many people seeking to come to the US for a better life are tricked into captivity, usually having their documentation and identity stolen by their traffickers. Here in Katy, these are usually the women working by force in brothels disguised as message parlors.
However, 80% of sex trafficking victims in the United States are US citizens. Domestic minor sex trafficking is the buying and selling of America’s own children. It's also known as Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC). It’s our own children being forced into sexual slavery within the U.S. borders. Federal law defines sex trafficking as the exchange of a sex act for anything of value. A sex act could include pornography, stripping, oral sex, massage parlors, etc. Anything of value could include a place to stay, drugs, a hamburger or higher status in a gang. Many times, the victims are vulnerable children fighting to survive.
In Houston, cantinas are typically Hispanic bars with “bar girls” who are rented out to customers. They are sold with the customer’s beverage and are often forced to dance topless or nude, or engage in forced prostitution.
Spas/Modeling Studios/ Adult Galleries:
The number of these brothels has increased in the last decade, as they operate without a Sexually Oriented Business license and without local, county, or state controls.
Often these establishments are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Under the guise of “massage,” women are sexually abused and exploited for the financial gain of their trafficker.
Some strip clubs are starting points for women and girls being forced into a life of slavery. Often a pimp or a “boyfriend” forces them, through the use of threats or acts of violence, into performing acts of prostitution.
The Internet has proven itself to be a safe place for traffickers to advertise. There are specific web sites dedicated to the advertisement, review, and sale of victims of human trafficking.
Many victims of human trafficking are forced to act as servants or sex slaves in a private home, apartment or hotel. This provides an environment where the trafficker can more easily hide his victim, with less risk of exposure to authorities.
While it is true that there are children who are at higher risk for becoming a victim, such as runaways and 'throwaways,' all children are at risk. The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the U.S. is 12-14 years old - children at this age are vulnerable in their very essence. Gangs and the Mexican cartels are sending recruiters into TEXAS schools to find victims. People are selling them and threatening their families if they tell. Sometimes their own families sell them.
A lack of awareness in our country coupled with the explosion of the Internet and a pornographically charged culture makes the job of the pimp and the recruiter extremely easy, and the job of law enforcement extremely difficult. Human Trafficking is 2nd only to Drug Trafficking. Why? You can sell a gun once, you can sell a bag of cocaine once but you can sell a human over and over and over.
It has been reported that the lunch hour is the busiest time of the day for brothels and strip clubs in the Katy area. ”Sex trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Therefore, people who purchase commercial sex increase the demand for commercial sex and likewise provide a profit incentive for traffickers, who seek to maximize profits by exploiting trafficking victims. Therefore, buyers of commercial sex need to recognize their involvement in driving demand. By not buying sex and not participating in the commercial sex industry, community members can reduce the demand for sex trafficking." National Human Trafficking Resource Center
The International Labour Organization reports that human trafficking is a $150 BILLION dollar industry. About $99 million of that is from the forced commercial sex trade, according to an ILO report, and the other $51 billion is from forced work, including construction, mining, agriculture and domestic servitude. The profits are huge and the risk of being prosecuted is slim - the United Nations says 99% of victims are never rescued.
In Katy, it is the influential communities and large high schools that are being targeted. Children from well-to-do families with good morals are highly vulnerable. Traffickers know that these children and teens are very trusting and know how to obey. Victims are “groomed” and manipulated into believing that their parents are unfair or too morally oppressive. The most frequent form of recruitment known is through peers. Girls are also recruited off of Facebook, MySpace, Snapchat and other social media sites and chat rooms.
NIOC Brings NEST Foundation Curriculum to Katy,TX
NEST Foundation (www.nestfoundation.org), an organization whose mission is to Protect Childhood and prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children by educating youth, educators, and other various community members has partnered with NIOC. NEST Foundation has developed, and successfully piloted, a curriculum for use in the high school classroom. This curriculum builds community within the school, educates students and teachers about sexual exploitation, and empowers students to then educate their own communities.
NIOC is bringing this Curriculum to an 8th grade class in the Spring of 2018 for a pilot with Middle Schoolers. This exciting program dives into the underlying cultural beliefs and patterns that make trafficking thrive today. This engaging and thought-provoking curriculum ends with a student-led forum, where students sit across the table from policy makers. The next generation is empowered to change the current epidemic facing their peers.
We are excited to begin in the next months and hope to extend this Curriculum to more schools and school districts by Fall of 2018.
NIOC prepares for "Not In Our Schools" Launch Fall of 2018.
At a recent roundtable discussion on Domestic Sex Trafficking, US Congressman Michael McCaul said, "This is a growing problem." The selling of American children has become as easy as ordering a pizza. Nick Nelson, Polaris (Human Trafficking Hotline) stated that, "There were 800 cases from Texas alone reported to the national hotline." Traffickers are preying on American children from all walks of life, turning them into commodities. Recruiters and groomers use even the most common vulnerabilities, such as low self-esteem and acne, to build false relationships with potential victims and lure them and trick them into the sex industry.
Mark Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of ICE's Houston Human Sex Trafficking Division, said, "This crime is done in secret. The more we can bring awareness to the issue, the better." We believe that by empowering today's youth with self-confidence and knowledge, we safeguard them from being vulnerable to the tactics used by traffickers. When this is combined with raising awareness within our schools of the potential red flags and tricks used by traffickers, we believe we not only protect our children, but we change future generations.
Our Not In Our Schools Program, consists of a monthly after school club. Each club will meet for 45 minutes to an hour and is facilitated by a school sponsor (ex: teacher or counselor) and a NIOC trained mentor. Each club will include (yet not limited to) the following activities: team building and trust activities, identifying the red flags, discussion on the underlying societal issues that fuel trafficking, healthy relationship building, social media safety, service projects in coordination with local victim recovery organizations, student-led awareness campaigns hosted by the club, and a student-led forum on trafficking in which policy makers, parents, and the general public are invited. There will also be made the opportunity for student club members to report to the teacher and mentor any potential red flag situations within the school. Students will be taught how to delicately and safely report and engage with a potential victim or groomer. The program will be supplemented with coordinating parent info nights hosted by a network of partnering anti-trafficking organizations (HAAT).
We believe that not only will be protect each individual child by exposing them to the mentor relationship and knowledge of the issue, but we will also be building a defense for their peers. Club members will be on the front lines of this fight as they walk the halls of their schools with an awareness of what to look out of for in others.
Our goal is to pilot the program with 5 clubs during the 2018-2019 school year. (Making opportunity for other participating groups, such as church youth groups or boy scouts, for example.) We would like to have 20 after school clubs participate the following 2019-2020 school year.
National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, formerly known as Morality in Media, was founded in 1962 in order to address the connections between pornography and sex trafficking, violence against women and children, harms to children, addiction, the breakdown of the family and more. In 2015 NCOSE established a Law Center to be the legal arm and counsel of the anti-sexual exploitation movement, with emphases in obscenity, sex trafficking, and prostitution law.
Traffick911 is a team of passionate people driven to free youth from sex trafficking.
Traffick911 began in 2009 by a local abolitionist who learned about this crime and decided that she couldn't stay silent. After months of research and connecting to networks across the nation, she pioneered training youth and first responders across Texas and built an enormous base of highly-trained volunteers, who have been instrumental in Traffick911's long-term success.
In 2011, an opportunity to present at a juvenile detention center gave insight on what became a highly effective venue for reaching high-risk youth. Since then, Traffick911's work in partnering with juvenile detention centers has gained national exposure and hundreds of victims have been identified sitting in these jail cells. Outreach to high-risk youth has become a niche and passion of Traffick911.
HAAT (Houston Area Against Trafficking)
Houston Area Against Trafficking is a SOCIAL and COMMUNITY MOVEMENT kicked off by Jennifer Hohman.
We need to create a massive KNOWLEDGE SHARE, a GROUND SWELL, an UPRISING, and a REVOLT against the biggest issues in our city!
We are EVERYONE! We are ONE voice speaking out and saying "NOT IN MY COMMUNITY!" We are Parents, Students, Abolitionists, Leaders of Non Profit Organizations, Professionals, Politicians, Business Owners, etc., etc.
To raise awareness and take action, we deliver community presentations to schools and churches. One abolitionist, one father of a victim and one community member... provide a powerful message and a plan to fight back and save our children!
In Galleria West, one of the most sexualized districts of Houston, our headquarters building stands as a beacon of light. 5818 Southwest Freeway is a building that once housed an Asian brothel called Angela Day Spa.
Angela Day Spa was an original stop on our Van Tours, and we had followed its activities for many years. After intervening with the property owner in 2013, signed a lease on the property and watched as the traffickers were evicted.
Elijah Rising is ending sex trafficking sexual exploitation by equipping a new generation of Justice warriors to confront culture through prayer awareness and intervention in the spirit of Isaiah 1:17
Nest was founded as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2004 by Libby Spears while she was directing PLAYGROUND: The Child Sex Trade in America, a film produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Abigail Disney, Lauren Embrey, Arden Wohl, and Tracy & Matt Smith, that investigates the roots and consequences of child sexual exploitation in our own backyard.
Since its founding, Nest has supported public and campus film screenings, trainings, policy advancements, victim services, shelters, and other programs and organizations that strive to make our neighborhoods safe for every child. We are proud to be among a growing number of colleagues and leaders collaborating to put an end to child sexual violence once and for all. The call for a movement has never been more urgent.