May 2: A modern day slave auction and press conference will be held to demonstrate the severity of sex trafficking in Houston
HOUSTON, TX., April 25, 2017—Houston is one of the top cities in the nation for sex trafficking, and this problem increases whenever large events come to town, like the Offshore Technology Conference. A modern day slave auction will be held on May 2 to demonstrate the severity of sex trafficking in Houston.
“Sex trafficking increases in Houston anytime a large event occurs. Just like with the Super Bowl, whenever you have over 100,000 people flood the city, traffickers see the opportunity to make money. Teen girls are specifically recruited and trafficked to meet the demand from buyers,” said Julie Waters, an attorney who founded Free the Captives in 2009 to rescue teenaged girls from modern-day slavery—girls not only from the inner city, but from affluent suburbs like The Woodlands and Cypress.
The goal of the modern day slave auction is to raise awareness among OTC attendees and Houstonians, alike. “We want to educate and deter the buyers or “Johns.” Buying a woman or girl for sex in many cases is sexual slavery. Rarely does an adult woman wake up one day and decide that she wants to sell her body. Often times, she was sexually abused as a child and then trafficked as a young teenager. Once she is entrapped, it is exceedingly difficult to get out,” said Waters.
“Teenagers are being bought, sold, and traded every day right in front of our eyes. Slavery still exists in the United States in the form of sex and labor trafficking. Just as the many freedom fighters of the past refused to allow slavery to continue we, as a community, must stand together to help end modern slavery. The image of the slave auction is an iconic one. It is one of the greatest downfalls of our country – the buying and selling of human beings. We cannot stand idly by as our children are preyed upon and exploited,” said Sheila Whittle, program coordinator at Free the Captives.
“These men think they may be buying a consenting 19 year old woman, but in reality they could be purchasing a trafficked 14 year old girl,” said Waters, “And these girls are controlled by heartless, brutal traffickers – emotionally, physically and mentally. I’ve worked with teen girls, born and raised in Houston, who have been raped and beaten by traffickers until they have blacked out. Then, they are sold night after night. What if this was your daughter?”
Despite the horrific brutality, the emotional scars last much longer than the physical ones. Free the Captives helps young teen survivors to rebuild their lives by offering support groups and mentoring. Additionally, they assist with shelter, provide economic stability through their job program, and teach life skills.
MAY 2, 2017: Free the Captives will hold a modern day slave auction followed by a press conference at 4:45pm at 1201 Congress St., Houston, TX 77002. At 5:30pm, volunteers will distribute anti-human trafficking flyers to OTC attendees and the general public.
“We welcome anyone who wants to come and volunteer with us. This is your opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless,” said Julie Waters, founder and executive director of Free the Captives, a faith-based anti-human trafficking organization that partners with law enforcement, government agencies, and other non-profits in the fight against modern day slavery. They rescue and restore the lives of teen sex trafficking victims in Houston by providing jobs, shelter, mentoring and more. Register here to help distribute flyers on May 2.
SCRIPT FOR MODERN DAY SLAVE AUCTION: Click here to read the script for the reenactment and to learn more about teen trafficking in Houston.
DATE: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
TIME: 4:45pm — Modern Day Slave Auction and Press Conference
5:30pm — Volunteer Outreach Event: Flyer Distribution
WHERE: Jury Assembly Plaza, 1201 Congress St., Houston, TX 77002
VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION / INFO: http://www.