Austin has become one of the distribution points for human trafficking because of its convenient transportation logistics given the proximity to I-35 and I-10.
It is unknown how many victims of human trafficking are in Austin today, however, given that it is estimated that more than 18 to 20 thousand arriving annually in the United States(1), it is reasonable to estimate that there are hundreds of victims in our fair city. It is imperative that we can increase the number of those liberated from the life of servitude, as the universally accepted estimate of those rescued hovers around 1% of the enslaved.(2)
Trafficking circuits in Austin are profoundly connected to the Houston area which funnels victims through an underground network concealed from the rest of society. The rapidly increasing population of both metropolitan areas(3) has amplified the demand and expansion of the slave trade. There have also been reports of ‘human auctions'(4) occurring in Austin and other cities around the nation. These auctions deny the human dignity of the victims by turning them into personalized commodities. Some of these slaves are owned by individuals while others remain the property of trafficking cartels running brothels and prostitution rings.
At any given time, it is estimated that Austin has more than 20 to 30 illegal brothels operating throughout the city(5). Victims of human trafficking are often abducted by use of force, led astray by internet schemes, and fall prey to propaganda, deception, and manipulation. Many are initially coerced by promises of money and a chance to escape poverty or unbearable life circumstances, but soon become unwilling participants in the slave trade. Once entangled in a trafficking ring they are regularly constrained by intimidation, isolation, humiliation, violence, and death threats to self and family.
ETN’s Executive Director has been extensively involved with efforts and services oriented towards discontinuing the Austin human trafficking trade since 2010. He has seen more than one of these types of brothels firsthand while assisting fellow female volunteers as they visit these ‘businesses’ in order to build rapport with the victims. He has witnessed the level of depravity involved in this industry which fuels ETN’s passion for rescuing victims in the Austin metro area.
End Trafficking Now serves three established nonprofits whose primary mission is to directly help survivors in central Texas. ETN is honored to work side by side with Redeemed Ministries and Allies Against Slavery in various capacities since 2010. Redeemed Ministries focuses on providing environments conducive for holistic healing and guiding adult survivors of domestic sex trafficking to healthy, productive and independent living. Allies Against Slavery develops community networks that build slave-free cities by working to support and empower local survivors of human trafficking and to engage and mobilize the community through advocacy, education and activism initiatives.
Additionally, ETN works with Refugee Services of Texas (RST) by donating directly to the trafficking division that helps with the immediate rescue of survivors from foreign countries, such as Guatemala and Mexico. The other organization ETN collaborates with is the Human Trafficking Unit of the Austin Police Department (APD) promoting civic awareness. Within the last decade, the APD has become one of the most effective and largest Human Trafficking Units in the country.
End Trafficking Now is proud to support these organizations and continue working towards our goal of eradicating human trafficking throughout central Texas and the world.