Free the Captives: Fighting Human Trafficking in Houston

Newsletter Archives for Free the Captives

Free the Captives (FTC) Newsletter, June 23, 2014

Portrait of Hope from a Teen Sex Trafficking Victim

Recently as I walked into a room, I expected to find a severe teen trafficking victim dejected, angry at the world, and in immense pain. Born into a world of neglect and abuse, she was trafficked by the age of 12 in Houston. Free the Captives started working with her when she was 15 years old. The heart wrenching stories this girl could tell would make your jaw drop to the floor.

When you look into her eyes, you see the ferociousness that helped her survive on the streets. You see a keen intelligence like no other. You see a sharp mind that plans and prepares for the next step; all in the name of survival.

You also see the anger that fills her heart, and she is afraid that she can’t control it. Even as this anger is directed towards all of those around her, to hear her describe it is something else. She feels the anger rising, and she uses that anger to survive because that is all she has known. In her world, there is no fight or flight. It is just fight.

But while the outside world only sees the anger, on the inside, all she can talk about is the fear. Palpable fear. Fear so strong it overrides her senses. Her heart beats faster. It gets harder to breathe. She can’t concentrate on anything else. Her mind is consumed with fear. She is so afraid. For all the toughness she displays, she is just a scared little girl. She is afraid of being hurt, physically and emotionally. She is tired and worn out. But most of all, she is afraid.

She is only a young girl after all, made to live lifetimes of the most traumatic and depraved abuse imaginable. She should be enjoying music, doing her hair, and wearing the latest trends like other 15 and 16 year old girls in Houston. Instead she has to fend off pimps, who are chasing her down notorious Bissonnet Street trying to kill her.

So, of course, she is angry and hard. And she runs. And runs. And runs. Until she is finally too tired to run. And the only thing that is left is fear, anger, and open wounds from the past.

At first, our talks are about the anger and she shares how every little thing sets her off. One wrong look and she is convinced you are out to get her. The all consuming anger that cleverly hides the fear is what most people see. And this makes them want to write her off - to say she is beyond help. But I see past the anger and into the fear that paralyzes her.

Then slowly, by the grace of God and through the healing words found in Scripture, she begins to have hope. Shining, glimmering rays of hope that peek out behind dark clouds after a stormy morning. As each verse sinks into her heart, the chains of anger and fear begin to fall off. It is unexplainable, and I suppose that is how God works.

As I work with her and we search for next steps, we wait. At first, the waiting scares her. The uncertainty of the future is hard for her heart. But she is safe. And now she has time to face her past. So we wait together.

As we wait, we look at verses about anger, fear, worry, peace and hope. Like a newborn baby craving milk, she soaks up the word of God. And slowly it begins to transform her. It soothes her soul. It brings peace to her heart. Words of anger are replaced by laughter. Enemies become friends. Indifference becomes caring. Her smile lights up the room. As God’s Word heals the broken places, she in turn begins to heal other girls around her. She points them to God. She is a natural born leader and others follow her lead. They find solace in God and in the Bible. She brings them peace and hope. Yes, this once tormented girl is now the bearer of peace to those being tormented.

Because of God’s faithfulness, goodness, and a multitude of people praying, I walked into a room to find the complete opposite of what I had been expecting. Anger had been replaced with peace. Will she still struggle from time to time? Of course, but now she knows that she is not alone and she has experienced God’s true peace. She has hope.

I know that God has incredible plans for her life. And Free the Captives will walk alongside her the entire way.

------------
To pray for specific prayer requests for teenaged victims of sex trafficking in Houston that Free the Captives serves, please go to http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/pray.php.

Written by Julie Waters, JD, Founder and Director of Free the Captives, an anti-human trafficking 501(c) 3 nonprofit in Houston, TX that focuses on the exploitation and trafficking of teenagers.

T-Shirt and Logo Design Contest for Freedom Fest: Due June 30
Are you creative? Use your talents to fight human trafficking! We are seeking designers to create a logo and T-shirt design for Free the Captives' 2015 Freedom Fest and 5K by June 30, 2014. When people think of human trafficking, dark and sordid images usually come to mind. Though this is definitely a reality, we want your design to celebrate the freedom and hope that survivors of sex trafficking experience when they are freed from this bondage! Imagine the transformation, renewal, and promise of a future these survivors will be able to enjoy.
 
The winning designer will get a $100 Amazon.com gift card, and your design will be prominently displayed on all of our promotional materials, widely distributed online and in print, and worn for years to come by many people! This is a great way to fight trafficking while enhancing your professional art portfolio. Your work and time will really help to raise awareness about human trafficking in Houston. For details and guidelines, go to http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/design-contest.php. Please forward this email to artists or designers who may be interested!

Not an artist? There are still many ways to get involved with Freedom Fest. Volunteer today for our human trafficking 5K and festival: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/freedom-fest-and-houston-human-trafficking-5k-run.php.
 
Fall Internship Positions Available – Apply by August 1, 2014
Free the Captives is seeking undergraduate interns for the Fall 2014 semester. Interns will need to commit between 7 to 10 hours per week. They will be involved in a variety of Free the Captives’ anti-trafficking activities, from awareness projects to New Creations to public policy work. Responsibilities in this unpaid internship include assisting on major projects, research, writing, clerical work, working with volunteers, and attending anti-trafficking meetings and events.

Interns will need to have reliable transportation, be prompt and responsible, respond to email quickly, and be detail oriented. This internship can be used to fulfill college credits, if needed. Request an application by emailing info@freethecaptiveshouston.com. Completed applications, including college transcripts, must be postmarked by August 1.


Free the Captives (FTC) Newsletter, June 15, 2014

Eat at Chili’s this TUESDAY, June 17!

Eat at Chili's this Tuesday, June 17, and fight human trafficking in Houston! For every purchase you make, whether dine in or take out, Chili's will donate 10% of your purchase to Free the Captives. This Tuesday is a great time to invite your friends and co-workers out to eat!

All you need to do is print out this email, make sure that the flyer above is visible, and present it at one of the participating Chili's below on June 17. Please forward this email to your friends!

PARTICIPATING CHILI'S LOCATIONS:

Chili’s West Little York: 5841 Hwy 6 N (Special thanks to this particular Chili's for initiating this great event!)

Chili’s Copperfield: Hwy 6 and 290

Chili’s Sawyer Heights: 2425 Katy Freeway

Chili’s Carillon: 10001 Westheimer

Chili’s Spring Cypress: 25825 NW Freeway

Chili’s I-10 East: 11400 I-10 East

Chili’s West Oaks: 2110 Hwy 6 S

Chili’s Hollister: 13050 NW Freeway 

Chili’s Energy Corridor: 12191 Katy Freeway

Pictures from our Teen Trafficking Victim Support Group



Free the Captives' support group for Houston's teen trafficking victims focuses on bringing hope and restoration to young lives destroyed by trafficking. This week our discussion was about God's love for them despite their intense feelings of shame and worthlessness.

Pictured here is artwork they created depicting God's love and healing for their broken hearts. Pray that they are reminded of God's great and faithful love whenever they see their painting!



This week we were blessed by Houston's First Baptist Downtown Campus as they provided furnishings for an ENTIRE apartment for one of Free the Captives' trafficking victims. Our young lady was overwhelmed by their generosity!



We are thankful to this amazing group of people who gave of their time, hearts and resources. From bedroom furniture to stocking the kitchen pantry, they thought of everything! They are also helping us find much needed jobs for the victim.



News Coverage of FTC Volunteers Block Walking with Sheriff Garcia

On June 7, 2014, we had a great turnout of Free the Captives' volunteers for our block walk with Sheriff Garcia. Our volunteers and Harris County Sheriff's Officers together walked door to door to raise awareness about human trafficking in high risk neighborhoods.



We appreciate everyone who came out in the Texas heat to make this event a success! The first step in fighting trafficking is awareness. You can read about this event at:
http://www.chron.com/news/politics/houston/article/Volunteer-walkers-support-fight-against-sex-5536812.php


(Photo by Houston Chronicle/Craig Hartley)

Donate Card Making Supplies for this Fall

We enjoyed making cards for Free the Captives' teen victims of human trafficking. Be on the lookout for future card making events in the fall! This is the perfect time to start collecting scrapbooking paper, ribbon, stickers, embellishments, stamps, craft glue sticks, and scissors to bring with you to our monthly event or to donate. If you have supplies you want to donate, email info@freethecaptiveshouston.com.



T-Shirt and Logo Design Contest for Freedom Fest: Due June 30
Are you creative? Use your talents to fight human trafficking! We are seeking designers to create a logo and T-shirt design for Free the Captives' 2015 Freedom Fest and 5K by June 30, 2014. When people think of human trafficking, dark and sordid images usually come to mind. Though this is definitely a reality, we want your design to celebrate the freedom and hope that survivors of sex trafficking experience when they are freed from this bondage! Imagine the transformation, renewal, and promise of a future these survivors will be able to enjoy.
 
The winning designer will get a $100 Amazon.com gift card, and your design will be prominently displayed on all of our promotional materials, widely distributed online and in print, and worn for years to come by many people! This is a great way to fight trafficking while enhancing your professional art portfolio. Your work and time will really help to raise awareness about human trafficking in Houston. For details and guidelines, go to http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/design-contest.php. Please forward this email to artists or designers who may be interested!

Not an artist? There are still many ways to get involved with Freedom Fest. Volunteer today for our human trafficking 5K and festival: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/freedom-fest-and-houston-human-trafficking-5k-run.php.
 



Free the Captives' Newsletter, June 4, 2014

Neighborhood Trafficking Outreach with Free the Captives and Harris County Sheriff's Office: THIS Saturday! (RSVP for Free FTC t-shirt!)
Join us this Saturday, as Free the Captives partners with the Harris County Sheriff's Office to bring awareness to neighborhoods at high risk for human trafficking. We need as many people as possible to join us! This is a great way for ANYONE, including families and kids to get involved.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia will kick off this outreach event at noon this Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation, Houston, TX 77011 (noon to 2pm). Then, we will canvas the surrounding neighborhoods and pass out anti-trafficking literature. Free the Captives' participants who RSVP by Friday, June 6 at 5pm, will get their very own Free the Captives' t-shirt to wear on Saturday! (T-shirt pick up at event.) These free t-shirts are a great way to raise awareness. Supplies are limited so RSVP today at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/ftc-and-sheriffs-office-outreach-event.php

You will not want to miss this fun and effective way to fight human trafficking!

Card Making Event: Join us THIS Friday!
Do you enjoy crafts and scrapbooking? Break out the stamps, ribbon, scissors, and cardstock! Bring your friends and creativity to our card making workshop THIS FRIDAY, June 6, from 1pm to 3pm at Bridgepoint Bible Church, Room 202, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079. We will be making cards for Free the Captives' teen trafficking victims and thank you cards for our supporters! Children are welcomed. This is a fun and meaningful way to fight human trafficking!

RSVP with the number of adults and the number of children by Wed., June 4 to info@freethecaptiveshouston.com. We recommend a $5 suggested donation per participant to cover supplies, or you can bring your own craft supplies.

Support Free the Captives at Chili’s Give Back Event, June 17, 2014

Mark your calendars for Chili's Give Back Night on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 for lunch or dinner! For every purchase you make, whether dine in or take out, Chili's will donate 10% of your purchase to Free the Captives.

All you need to do is print out this email, make sure that the flyer above is visible, and present it at one of the participating Chili's below on June 17. Who knew eating out could fight human trafficking?

PARTICIPATING CHILI'S LOCATIONS:

Chili’s West Little York: 5841 Hwy 6 N (Special thanks to this particular Chili's for initiating this great event!)

Chili’s Copperfield: Hwy 6 and 290

Chili’s Sawyer Heights: 2425 Katy Freeway

Chili’s Carillon: 10001 Westheimer

Chili’s Spring Cypress: 25825 NW Freeway

Chili’s I-10 East: 11400 I-10 East

Chili’s West Oaks: 2110 Hwy 6 S

Chili’s Hollister: 13050 NW Freeway 

Chili’s Energy Corridor (Opens June 2): 12191 Katy Freeway

"Les Mis" Performance to Benefit Free the Captives, Aug. 1-3, 2014

Come experience the powerful music and epic tale of social injustice of LES MISÉRABLES while supporting FREE THE CAPTIVES. When you purchase tickets to see award-winning Fort Bend Theatre’s upcoming production of LES MISÉRABLES at the Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road, (5 min. from Hwy 59 & Beltway 8), 25% of your ticket price goes to FREE THE CAPTIVES.

The dates are August 1-3, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are only $20-$50 and go on sale on June 12 at www.fortbendtheatre.com. 25% of your ticket price will go directly to FREE THE CAPTIVES. Simply apply the word FREETHECAPTIVES when prompted online. For more information, please call (281) 208-3333.
 
See for yourself why LES MISÉRABLES was the winner of over 100 international awards and seen by over 65 million people worldwide as it sweeps its audience through an epic tale of broken dreams, passion and redemption, against the backdrop of a nation in the grip of revolution. This timeless tale still shows the power of redemption today, and is one you won’t want to miss.



Free the Captives' Newsletter, June 2, 2014

Update on our Teen Trafficking Victim Support Group
As Free the Captives wraps up our second round of  support groups for teen trafficking victims, we are happy to share that the girls have been doing very well in the groups. For many, this is the first time that they felt safe enough to share. They are surrounded by other girls who have been in their shoes and are finding healing and comfort. We are also helping these girls by paying for their educational needs, providing groceries and home furnishings, and even bought a prom dress for one of our young ladies. She had an amazing prom experience last weekend! Thank you for your continued prayer and support for our girls. It makes a huge difference!



We are thankful to Houston Chinese Church for providing wonderful hot meals each week, and to West University Baptist/Crosspoint Church for encouraging our girls with these awesome tote bags full of goodies!



Card Making Event: Join us THIS Friday!
Do you enjoy crafts and scrapbooking? Break out the stamps, ribbon, scissors, and cardstock! Bring your friends and creativity to our card making workshop on June 6, Friday, from 1pm to 3pm at Bridgepoint Bible Church, Room 202, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079. We will be making cards for Free the Captives' teen trafficking victims and thank you cards for our supporters! Children are welcomed. This is a fun and meaningful way to fight human trafficking!

RSVP with the number of adults and the number of children by Wed., June 4 to info@freethecaptiveshouston.com. We recommend a $5 suggested donation per participant to cover supplies, or you can bring your own craft supplies.

T-Shirt and Logo Design Contest for Freedom Fest: Due June 30
Are you creative? Use your talents to fight human trafficking! We are seeking designers to create a logo and T-shirt design for Free the Captives' 2015 Freedom Fest and 5K by June 30, 2014. When people think of human trafficking, dark and sordid images usually come to mind. Though this is definitely a reality, we want your design to celebrate the freedom and hope that survivors of sex trafficking experience when they are freed from this bondage! Imagine the transformation, renewal, and promise of a future these survivors will be able to enjoy.
 
The winning designer will get a $100 Amazon.com gift card, and your design will be prominently displayed on all of our promotional materials, widely distributed online and in print, and worn for years to come by many people! This is a great way to fight trafficking while enhancing your professional art portfolio. Your work and time will really help to raise awareness about human trafficking in Houston. For details and guidelines, go to http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/design-contest.php. Please forward this email to artists or designers who may be interested!
 
Support Free the Captives at Chili’s Give Back Event, June 17, 2014

Mark your calendars for Chili's Give Back Night on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 for lunch or dinner! For every purchase you make, whether dine in or take out, Chili's will donate 10% of your purchase to Free the Captives.

All you need to do is print out this email, make sure that the flyer above is visible, and present it at one of the participating Chili's below on June 17. Who knew eating out could fight human trafficking?

PARTICIPATING CHILI'S LOCATIONS:

Chili’s West Little York: 5841 Hwy 6 N (Special thanks to this particular Chili's for initiating this great event!)

Chili’s Copperfield: Hwy 6 and 290

Chili’s Sawyer Heights: 2425 Katy Freeway

Chili’s Carillon: 10001 Westheimer

Chili’s Spring Cypress: 25825 NW Freeway

Chili’s I-10 East: 11400 I-10 East

Chili’s West Oaks: 2110 Hwy 6 S

Chili’s Hollister: 13050 NW Freeway 

Chili’s Energy Corridor (Opens June 2): 12191 Katy Freeway

Get Free the Captives' Prayer Requests via Text
Prayer is one of the most effective ways you can fight human trafficking. We have seen American teenaged victims rescued and their lives restored because of our faithful prayer supporters. Free the Captives now offers a way for you to get our prayer requests through texts. You will get approximately five texts a week with very specific prayer requests for Free the Captives' teenaged trafficking victims and our programs/projects.

To sign up for texts, text 832-781-0916 with the message @49c18. Step by step directions:
  1. Type in the “To” field: 832-781-0916
  2. Type in the “Message” field or body of the text: @49c18
  3. Hit send.
Now you are subscribed to Free the Captives “Prayer Partners” class/group. This is one way texting only. You cannot reply to these texts. Your phone number remains private and is not seen by anyone, including Free the Captives. You can unsubscribe at anytime by replying “unsubscribe @49c18.” Texting charges may be incurred; it will depend on your current cell phone plan.

FTC 2014 Christmas Market: Only FOUR Vendor Booths Left!
We are excited to have Free the Captives’ Annual Christmas Market on November 21-22, 2014 at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401. Last year’s market was extremely successful! This is a great way to highlight your business and fight human trafficking. 15% of your vendor proceeds from the Christmas Market will go to Free the Captives’ programs for trafficked teens in Houston. Vendors retain the rest of their proceeds.

We have a limited number of booths, and they are going fast! ALL of the corner booths have been sold, and we have only FOUR spaces total left for vendors. Please submit your vendor application as soon as possible at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php. If your application is approved, please pay your booth fees as soon as possible to complete the reservation of your booth.


Free the Captives' Newsletter, May 22, 2014

Free the Captives’ Freedom Fest News


It is official! Free the Captives’ Freedom Fest and 5K Run will be on April 11, 2015 at Mason Park, Houston, TX, within the 610 Loop. Runners and festival participants will enjoy the water view from the tree-lined banks of the Brays Bayou.

Free the Captives’ Freedom Fest and 5K is a major city-wide event designed to raise awareness about the huge problem of human trafficking in Houston. While there is a small fee for runners to participate in the 5K run/walk, all others are welcomed to join us for the FREE festival that is being held immediately after the run. Freedom Fest is a family friendly event with FREE food, games, and live music. While human trafficking is a dark and difficult topic, we want Freedom Fest to be a celebration that raises awareness about all the progress that has been made!
 
To keep Freedom Fest free to the general public, we need your help! If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this short interest form. Hosting and managing a free food or game booth is the perfect way for churches, Sunday school classes, youth groups and small groups to get involved. Because of the magnitude of this event, we need volunteers to help with every aspect of the festival and run. So whether you are a student, stay at home mom, runner, retiree, business professional, Zumba instructor, artist/designer, we need YOU! Sign up today to volunteer!


Our 5K volunteer team doing a practice run at Mason Park.

Below is a picture from our last planning meeting. It is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together to make a difference. From teens to retirees to all ethnicities, we appreciate these dedicated volunteers’ hard work and time! Sign up today to volunteer, and we’ll let you know of our next planning meeting.

 
T-Shirt and Logo Design Contest for Freedom Fest

Are you creative? Use your talents to fight human trafficking! We are seeking designers to create a logo and T-shirt design for Free the Captives' 2015 Freedom Fest and 5K by June 30, 2014. When people think of human trafficking, dark and sordid images usually come to mind. Though this is definitely a reality, we want your design to celebrate the freedom and hope that survivors of sex trafficking experience when they are freed from this bondage! Imagine the transformation, renewal, and promise of a future these survivors will be able to enjoy.
 
The winning designer will get a $100 Amazon.com gift card, and your design will be prominently displayed on all of our promotional materials, widely distributed online and in print, and worn for years to come by many people! This is a great way to fight trafficking while enhancing your professional art portfolio. Your work and time will really help to raise awareness about human trafficking in Houston. For details and guidelines, go to http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/design-contest.php.
 
Support Free the Captives at Chili’s Give Back Event: June 17, 2014

Want to take the night off from cooking? Need an excuse to get together with your friends? Mark your calendars for Chili's Give Back Night on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 for lunch or dinner at one of the MANY participating Chili's below!

For every purchase you make, whether dine in or take out, Chili's will donate 10% of your purchase to Free the Captives. You will need to present the "Give Back" flyer in order for Free the Captives to receive this donation for your meal.

Who knew eating out could fight human trafficking?

PARTICIPATING CHILI'S LOCATIONS (Partial listing as of May 22, 2014)

Chili’s West Little York: 5841 Hwy 6 N (Special thanks to this particular Chili's for initiating this great event!)

Chili’s Copperfield: Hwy 6 and 290

Chili’s Sawyer Heights: 2425 Katy Freeway

Chili’s Carillon: 10001 Westheimer

Chili’s Spring Cypress: 25825 NW Freeway

Chili’s I-10 East: 11400 I-10 East

Chili’s West Oaks: 2110 Hwy 6 S

Chili’s Hollister: 13050 NW Freeway 

Chili’s Energy Corridor (Opens June 2): 12191 Katy Freeway

Card Making Event: Get Creative!
Do you enjoy crafts and scrapbooking? Break out the stamps, ribbon, scissors, and cardstock! Bring your friends and creativity to our card making workshop on June 6, Friday, from 1pm to 3pm at Bridgepoint Bible Church, Room 202, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079. We will be making cards for Free the Captives' teen trafficking victims and thank you cards for our supporters! We will provide some card making supplies, but encourage you to bring your own as well. This is a fun and meaningful way to fight human trafficking! RSVP by June 2 to info@freethecaptiveshouston.com.

Get Free the Captives' Prayer Requests via Text
Prayer is one of the most effective ways you can fight human trafficking. We have seen American teenaged victims rescued and their lives restored because of our faithful prayer supporters. Free the Captives now offers a way for you to get our prayer requests through texts. You will get approximately five texts a week with very specific prayer requests for Free the Captives' teenaged trafficking victims and our programs/projects.

To sign up for texts, text 832-781-0916 with the message @49c18. Step by step directions:
  1. Type in the “To” field: 832-781-0916
  2. Type in the “Message” field or body of the text: @49c18
  3. Hit send.
Now you are subscribed to Free the Captives “Prayer Partners” class/group. This is one way texting only. You cannot reply to these texts. Your phone number remains private and is not seen by anyone, including Free the Captives. You can unsubscribe at anytime by replying “unsubscribe @49c18.” Texting charges may be incurred; it will depend on your current cell phone plan.

FTC 2014 Christmas Market: Only FIVE Vendor Booths Left!
Is it too early to think about Christmas? We are excited to have Free the Captives’ Annual Christmas Market on November 21-22, 2014 at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401. Last year’s market was extremely successful! This is a great way to highlight your business and fight human trafficking. 15% of your vendor proceeds from the Christmas Market will go to Free the Captives’ programs for trafficked teens in Houston. Vendors retain the rest of their proceeds.

We have a limited number of booths, and they are going fast! ALL of the corner booths have been sold, and we have only FIVE spaces left for vendors. Please submit your vendor application as soon as possible at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php.

Free the Captives' May 2014 Newsletter

Free the Captives’ Freedom Fest and 5k Planning Meeting

Fight human trafficking in Houston! Free the Captives is hosting our first Freedom Fest and 5K Run, a major awareness event in April 2015. It starts with a 5k and ends with a huge celebration consisting of FREE food, music and games. Everything is designed to highlight the major problem of human trafficking in Houston.

We currently have over 15 churches represented from Hispanic, Asian, African American, and Caucasian communities, and we need more to make this massive event a huge success! Hosting and managing a free food or game booth is the perfect way for churches, Sunday school classes, youth groups and small groups to volunteer and get involved in fighting human trafficking.

Join our LAST planning meeting, until the fall, on Sunday, May 18 from 4pm to 6pm at Bridgepoint Bible Church, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079. Please RSVP by May 16 by emailing info@freethecaptiveshouston.com.

We need the following people to attend on May 18 at 4pm:
  • Graphic designers
  • Marketing/advertising professionals
  • People with media connections
  • Runners and walkers
  • Event planners/project managers
  • Anyone who has spare time and wants to help fight human trafficking
Please forward this email to anyone who is interested in helping and making a difference!

Human Trafficking Increases in Houston during the OTC
The Offshore Technology Conference brought 100,000 attendees into Houston this week. Unfortunately, wherever large crowds amass, just like in the Super Bowl, there is an increase in human trafficking. This week, teenaged girls, many of them Americans, born and raised in Houston, were sold to men who came to this conference. Girls as young 12 to 13 years old were forced to sleep with anywhere from 4 to 14 men per night.

Here is a brief news story on NBC/KPRC about the OTC featuring Julie Waters, director of Free the Captives: http://www.click2houston.com/news/prostitution-boom-during-otc/25824640

Julie also conducted a radio interview for News 92FM:

Get Free the Captives' Prayer Requests via Texts
Prayer is one of the most effective ways you can fight human trafficking. We have seen American teenaged victims rescued and their lives restored because of our faithful prayer supporters. Free the Captives now offers a way for you to get our prayer requests through texting. You will get approximately five texts a week with very specific prayer requests for Free the Captives' teenaged trafficking victims and our programs/projects.

Here's how to sign up:
To sign up for texts, text 832-781-0916 with the message @49c18. Step by step directions:
  1. Type in the “To” field: 832-781-0916
  2. Type in the “Message” field or body of the text: @49c18
  3. Hit send.
Now you are subscribed to Free the Captives “Prayer Partners” class/group. This is one way texting only. You cannot reply to these texts. Your phone number remains private and is not seen by anyone, including Free the Captives.

You can unsubscribe at anytime by replying “unsubscribe @49c18.” Texting charges may be incurred; it will depend on your current cell phone plan.

FTC 2014 Christmas Market: Vendor Booths Going Fast!
We are excited to have Free the Captives annual Christmas Market on November 21-22, 2014 at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401. Last year was extremely successful in raising awareness and support for Free the Captives. We are currently accepting vendor applications for booths at this year’s market.

We have a limited number of booths, and they are going fast! We have gotten some amazing vendors lined up already. ALL of the corner booths have been sold. Please sign up as soon as possible at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php.

Free the Captives' April 2014 Newsletter

Free the Captives’ Freedom Fest and 5k
Help raise awareness in Houston about human trafficking! Free the Captives is hosting our first Freedom Fest and 5K Run. This is not a fundraiser, rather it is a huge, fun awareness raising event! Immediately after the 5K run, we are throwing a huge party with FREE food, music and game booths for adults and kids!

We need your help to make this massive event a success. This is the perfect volunteer opportunity for churches, small groups, runners, and students. People can run a game/food booth or help plan the 5k. Join our next planning meeting on Sunday, May 4 at 4pm at Bridgepoint Bible Church, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079. Please RSVP by May 1 by emailing info@freethecaptiveshouston.com.

New DATES for Men's Ministry: May 5, MONDAY Nights



Free the Captives has rescheduled the training for Christian men to mentor men who are struggling with struggling with p**nography and buying sexual services. Instead of meeting on Fridays, we are now meeting on Monday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:45pm in West Houston starting May 5. Training participants will be required to attend six out of the seven following training dates: May 5, 12, 19, June 2, 9, 16, 23.

To participate in this training session, you must complete our brief online interest form by May 1 at www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/men. A volunteer application and reading assignments will be emailed to you shortly after signing up online.

Vendor Sign Up for FTC 2014 Christmas Market
We are excited to have our Annual Christmas Market on November 21-22, 2014 at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401. Last year was extremely successful in raising awareness and support for Free the Captives. We are currently accepting vendor applications for booths at this year’s market. Please apply online as soon as possible. We have a limited number of booths, and they are going quick!

Sign up at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php.
 
Summer Internship Opportunity
Free the Captives is looking for a summer college intern to help with research and writing projects and other anti-trafficking projects. Internships are unpaid and will be approximately 10 to 15 hours per week during the summer. Please email info@freethecaptiveshouston.com for an application. Applications will require a resume, transcripts, cover letter, and writing sample. Internships are awarded on a rolling basis.


Free the Captives' March 2014 Newsletter

Teen Victim Rescued and Trafficker Arrested!
On March 27, 2014, Free the Captives coordinated the quickest rescue of a teenaged sex trafficking victim since our inception. Working with two governmental agencies across two counties, law enforcement and attorneys, within a matter of hours, a 16 year old victim in Houston was found and rescued AND her trafficker was arrested.

Typically, it takes days for a rescue operation to be conducted. On this particular day, we had the right intel and the right people and within hours, she was rescued. Our connections in law enforcement did an outstanding job with their rapid response! Of course, the key to all of this was God. We serve such a faithful and sovereign God!

I want to thank all of our dedicated prayer partners, who have prayed faithfully for Free the Captives and our girls. Our work is impossible without your prayer support. Your prayers saved a girl this week! We have been so blessed that this is the second teenaged girl that Free the Captives has worked with law enforcement to rescue in the past month. Your prayers made the difference! 

Support Group for Trafficked Teen Victims
In addition to our mentoring program, Free the Captives launched our weekly support group for trafficked teens. It has been great to see the girls connecting and sharing with each other. This is a safe environment for the girls to share about what they have been through and to have others that can relate to their situation. Our current group is full, but we are accepting referrals for our next group. Please email info@freethecaptiveshouston.com for a referral form.

Appreciation Luncheon for Law Enforcement
On March 28, 2014, Free the Captives organized an Appreciation Luncheon for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to honor the men and women of the vice unit who fight human trafficking by arresting the buyers and traffickers and rescuing the girls. We truly appreciate Second Baptist Church’s generosity and hospitality for hosting our luncheon. Sheriff Adrian Garcia helped us present award plaques to 21 hard working officers. They are our frontline defenders!
 
     

Summer Internship Opportunity
Free the Captives is looking for a summer college intern to help with research and writing projects and other anti-trafficking projects. Internships are unpaid and will be approximately 10 to 15 hours per week during the summer. Please email info@freethecaptiveshouston.com for an application. Applications will require a resume, transcripts, cover letter, and writing sample. Internships are awarded on a rolling basis.

Tallowood Baptist Church: Baby Items Donation
The women’s ministry of Tallowood Baptist Church generously donated much needed baby items for Free the Captives. Thank you for the cribs, strollers, car seats, and much more. We are grateful for your support and incredible generosity. Thank you for going above and beyond!



Free the Captives' Research Teams (Women Only)
The women’s research projects have been intense and productive. We are so blessed to have two dedicated teams of women working on our research projects. These women are working long hours to gather data to keep Houston's most vulnerable children safe. We are thankful for our Friday team; it is not too late to join. Just sign up and join us when you can: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/research-project.php.

Then, we have our smaller core team that works diligently every week on a different research project. Thank you for serving so faithfully! We are extremely grateful to Sonny, a computer programmer that designed a program just for Free the Captives' researchers. Also, many thanks to West University Baptist for donating new laptops to our research program. Please be praying for fruitfulness for both research teams!



Dear Friends,                                                                                           February 25, 2014

Last night, God rescued a Houston teenaged girl from the brutal grip of a trafficker. When she tried to leave, the trafficker beat her viciously. But our Sovereign God intervened and through law enforcement, He rescued her. We have been working around the clock with the mother of this girl. We have had long nights, we have been on our knees crying out to God, and today, we rejoice in His goodness and faithfulness!

Many of you joined us in prayer throughout this past week for this girl. You were faithful warriors on her behalf and our behalf. People often ask, "How can I help Free the Captives? What can I do?" My answer to you is to PRAY. Praying is not a trivial matter. Prayer counts. Prayer moves the heavenlies. Prayer rescues girls. Day by day, we saw the hold of the trafficker over her lessen because you prayed. Our job is not to go out and physically rescue. Human trafficking is dangerous business. We work with law enforcement, and THEY rescue the girls. But our job is to get on our knees and PRAY.

It is our privilege to join God in this fight through prayer. As Pastor Gregg Matte says, "We do not fight for victory; we fight from victory." God, indeed, is the victor. And I truly want to thank you for being diligent and faithful in prayer. Over and over again, we see God answer your prayers in the lives of Free the Captives' girls. For example, also last night, we asked you to pray Romans 7 and 8 - that God would set the girls free from their pasts. And that very evening, He spoke to their hearts. One girl, for the very first time, courageously shared about a very painful past experience. Because of that, God brought her comfort and hope and started the healing process for her. This happened because YOU prayed and GOD heard.

Then hours later, when all of us were asleep, God rescues our girl that many of you have been praying daily for so diligently. From a strip club! I have never been so happy to get up at 5am and to see that she was rescued! God is moving in this city, my friends. We, at Free the Captives, are so blessed to have our friends on Facebook and through email praying for us daily. Our work could not happen without you and your prayers.

Also, we are seeing our girls engaging in a level of discipleship not ever witnessed in Free the Captives before. They are wanting to learn about God and to understand the Bible. They are relying on Him and His strength to get through the day. They ask for prayer. They feel different. They feel God in their lives. Pray for them. Pray that God gives them an unquenchable thirst for Him. Pray for protection as they grow in their walks with Him. Pray for us as we study through the book of Philippians on Wednesday nights. Pray against distractions during this time. Pray for hearts eager to learn His Word and apply it in their young lives. Pray for continued healing and perservance. Pray for the Word to come alive and to bring them much joy! God is so faithful! And He is moving in power, without a shadow of a doubt.

Lastly, we are getting ready to ask God to move in really big ways this spring, and we need your continued prayer support. We are still in the developing stages of this next project, but the seeds were planted this weekend. Pray for wisdom, open doors, and for more people to pray. I am serious. We need prayer for more prayer. Do you really want to end the demand? Then, start praying now for this special project. We are truly seeking God's guidance for this project regarding the Johns, the buyers. Only God can change hearts and bring revival.

Thank you for being a part of what God is doing! Today, let us give all glory and honor to the living God that sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and to set us free!

In Awe of Him,

Julie Waters, JD
Director and Founder
Free the Captives

************************************************************************************
NEW VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Make a difference; join our research team!FTC Research Project

Many teenaged girls that run away are highly vulnerable to traffickers. Once enslaved by traffickers, they are sold repeatedly to men every night. You can help us find runaways that are currently being sold. Free the Captives is seeking female volunteers to help us find these girls on websites known for human trafficking. 

We are conducting this project at Bridgepoint Bible Church, 13277 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079 on Fridays from 1pm to 3pm. We are meeting every Friday from March 14 to May 16, 2014.  Due to the nature of this research, this project is only accepting female volunteers. After signing up here, please join us at Bridgepoint Bible Church starting March 14 on any Friday that your schedule allows. Please bring your own laptop.


2013: Free the Captives' Year End Review 

2013 was an incredible year for Free the Captives! Through you, our supporters, God moved mountains and blessed us tremendously. We saw great strides in the fight against human trafficking. We had amazing programs for trafficked teenaged girls and at risk teens and witnessed law enforcement, particularly the Harris County Sheriff's Office, step up to the plate and arrest the Johns in droves. Our "Reducing the Demand" campaign made a huge impact. We also educated thousands of Houstonians in 2013 on human trafficking. All in all, because of your prayers, time and resources, Free the Captives was able to accomplish abundantly more than we had anticipated! We serve a good God!

So grab a cup of coffee and unwind as you read about our year - the good, the bad, and the sad!

I. Programs and Victim Services

Free the Captives serves both teenaged trafficking victims and at risk girls in the Houston area. We offer numerous services, including mentoring and job preparation and material assistance. Throughout the year, we have weekly mentoring for the girls where they develop life skills and grow spiritually. We are thankful to the churches that provide hot, healthy meals for our girls: Second Baptist Church, Houston Chinese Church, Northwoods Presbyterian Church, Christ Community Church, Cypress Bible Church, and Riverpointe Church. We also count on the prayer support of our Facebook followers as we work with these girls!

Our most exciting and newest initiative was New Creations, a job preparation program this summer where the girls earned a stipend for making necklaces and soap and gained intensive job training. It was incredibly amazing to see the girls thrive in a productive setting. New Creations included everything from Bible study to nutrition to resume writing to having fun at the beach! Below is our summer in pictures.

New Creations' Summer Highlights

Everyday, the girls made beautiful, handcrafted FairTrade necklaces and soap!
         

We were blessed beyond belief to have amazing interns. They worked incredibly hard and served the girls wholeheartedly. The interns helped the girls to learn God's word and live it out. Even six months later, the girls are still sharing the verses they memorized. Amazing! God's word brings hope, life, and transformation. We also taught the girls savings/budgeting, cooking, ballet, painting, and Microsoft Office.


We had many special guests that came and shared about their careers. Coppelia, a DJ from KSBJ, blessed us with her cheerful smile and kind heart! Here she is wearing one of our necklaces and showing off our soap!


The women of Grace Bible Church donated entire professional wardrobes for our girls on our Professional Development Day. Each girl had her own "personal shopper" from Grace Bible Church help her pick out new outfits. During lunch, Natalie Weakley, an image consultant, discussed etiquette for business lunches. After lunch, the girls had six rounds of practice interviews. The girls looked fantastic in their new business outfits, and their self confidence increased a great deal. Even today, they are still putting into practice what they learned as they go on job interviews!


Fox26 was a fantastic partner for Free the Captives. They allowed the girls to visit the studio, and we had lunch with the news anchors and reporters. Fox26 also did a story on New Creations: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/video?clipId=9154109. Below, Adela Rushing, a hardworking and devoted FTC volunteer, is being interviewed for this story. Adela, we appreciate YOU!
           

We were blessed to stay in an amazing beach house in Galveston. The girls loved burying each other in the sand. Here is a brave intern joining in on the fun! It was great to see the sun set and hear the girls reflect on what they learned this summer. One girl shared about how New Creations helped to improve her attitude and how her family could see the positive changes in her. The next day, we hit Schiltterbahn Water Park. The girls were fearless, even on the scariest of water slides!
       

Very rarely are our girls celebrated. Therefore, to celebrate the success of New Creations and the girls' hard work, we held our Graduation Gala at the Taste of Texas. We were so blessed to have this special evening donated by this generous restaurant. The girls got dressed up in formal gowns donated by Clear Lake Presbyterian Church. For graduation gifts, Rev. Mark Downs donated pearl necklaces, and Crosby Church donated professional gift bags of watches, black binders, gift cards, and office supplies. At the Graduation Gala, the girls presented Powerpoint slides on what they had learned this summer. Our esteemed guests, including Sheriff Adrian Garcia, noted how professional and mature our girls were during their presentations. For many of them, this was their first public speaking opportunity, and they nailed it. It was prom and graduation all rolled into one event!
  

At New Creations, we focused on responsibility, punctuality, positive attitudes, respect, and work ethic. They also created top notch resumes (with assistance from the WorkFaith Connection and our amazing interns). The job prep paid off! Many of the girls went on to find jobs on their own after the summer ended. Two of them even worked at a law firm. We are always looking for employers to hire our girls in professional settings. Please email me at julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com if you can help.

We are so very thankful to everyone who made New Creations possible, especially our host church. So many people and churches throughout Houston came together to provide for our girls. We are incredibly blessed by you! Thank you also to all of our Facebook supporters for praying for us daily!

All in all, this summer was an ongoing testament to God's love and grace in these girls' lives as they took part in Free the Captives' New Creations program. Nevertheless, we had our share of challenges. Death and trafficking go hand in hand. We experienced the loss of a girl trafficked since the age of 13. She was raped, shot in the head, and left in a ditch in Houston. Death is all too common in these girls' lives, if not of the victims themselves but also of their close family members. We also assisted in rescuing a runaway victim. It is very difficult and heartbreaking to help those who do not want help, but we persist.

I do not want to end this section on a sad note. As the director and founder of Free the Captives, I am often asked, "How do you deal with the sadness and pain that you witness with these girls?" On some days, the tough days, it is very easy to become discouraged, but overall my faith in Jesus Christ sustains me. The faithful prayers of Free the Captives' supporters encourages me daily. And even in the midst of the darkest days, I still see God move. Over and over again, I have seen God work in these girls' lives. He IS restoring them and bringing them to wholeness. He IS bringing them to a saving knowledge of Him. My God is bigger than the tragedy of human trafficking. His Son, Jesus, HAS conquered sin and death. And that is all I need.

II. Reducing the Demand by Arresting the Johns

In addition to working with the girls, we have worked extensively to combat the demand driven by the Johns. The Johns are men who are buying the girls from the traffickers. They are the ones paying for sex. For trafficking to thrive, you must have three parties: the victims, the traffickers, and the buyers (Johns). For the last couple of years, we have concentrated our efforts on making sure that Johns are being held responsible for their role in trafficking. 

We are pleased to report that Sheriff Adrian Garcia has been a strong supporter and partner in these efforts. After receiving many letters from you, the vice division of Harris County Sheriff's Office hired five female deputies this summer in order to conduct more reverse stings and arrest more Johns. Over 150 Johns were arrested since adding these new officers. This is a huge victory! Having the female deputies will ensure that more men are arrested for buying sex! 

We also partnered with Sheriff Garcia to produce this commercial that aired on Fox:



During the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in May 2013, we launched two billboards on I-10 and I-45 warning the Johns and handed out flyers to conference attendees. Both gained much media attention (http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91051&sitesection=kiah_newsfix&VID=24806394). The billboards were particularly effective; 8 million Houstonians saw the billboards. At the same time our commercial was running and the billboards were up, the HCSO Vice Division arrested buyers during the OTC. These efforts could not have happened without your financial support! We would love to continue running billboards. Please email julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com if you are interested in sponsoring a billboard.




III. Public Awareness and Training

Free the Captives is on the front lines of educating adults and youth about human trafficking. Through our popular Speakers' Bureau, we train and educate thousands of people each year at churches, clubs, schools, government agencies, and organizations. Every year, we also hold our annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference. In 2013, Second Baptist Church graciously hosted it and we had over 600 attendees. Notable speakers included Sheriff Garcia, DA Anderson, and Dr. Linda Marten of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Free the Captives and District Attorney's Office

We were honored to have DA Mike Anderson speak at our annual trafficking conference in 2013. He spoke of the DA's Office being committed to prosecuting both the traffickers and the Johns. Harris County suffered a great loss when he passed away this summer. His wife, Devon, was appointed as the new District Attorney. On October 25, 2013, Free the Captives partnered with the Harris County District Attorney's Office to present information to attorneys about human trafficking and how it is being fought through the legal system. Speakers included attorneys and a judge from the US Department of Justice, Juvenile Court, District Attorney's Office, and Free the Captives. 

         

Free the Captives' Christmas Market 

Free the Captives held our first ever Christmas Market at Crosspoint Church on November 15 and 16, 2013. We sold necklaces and soap made by the girls that we serve. We also had a great selection of vendors that donated 10% of their proceeds from our market to Free the Captives to fight the sex trafficking of teens in Houston. Special thanks to Amy Pickett and Crosspoint Church for making this event so successful! We also appreciate everyone who came out and shopped. Be sure to join us again this year!



Friends and supporters, we could not have accomplished our work without your support! For 2014, please consider donating online or through mail (Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094). Thank you for praying and giving of your resources. You have blessed us incredibly! 

2014 is already super busy! While we continue our work with the girls, we are gearing up for a major research project and would love your help. Please sign up no later than this Sunday, February 9. Please continue to pray, especially for the girls and our research project. We have already seen many answered prayers and look forward to what God will do in 2014!

Blessings,
Julie Waters, JD
Director and Founder of Free the Captives
www.FreetheCaptivesHouston.com

Free the Captives' Newsletter, December 11, 2013


"Lap dances are once again legal at certain Houston topless clubs that have agreed to pay the city a combined $1 million every year to help combat human trafficking."  -Houston Chronicle article, Nov. 28, 2013

Does this make sense to anyone?

Recently, Mayor Annise Parker announced at a press conference that a settlement had been struck with sixteen strip clubs in Houston that allows them to operate with less restrictions as long as they pay the City of Houston $1 million per year. This million dollars is split between the sixteen clubs. Before this settlement, there were ordinances that prohibited lap dances. Now, these strip clubs are allowed to resume giving lap dances to customers. While some think this will help fight human trafficking because the money will go to fund anti-trafficking efforts within the Houston Police Department, it is our opinion that this is completely a step in the wrong direction. 

Making it easier for strip clubs to operate will make it easier for teenaged girls to be trafficked in Houston. The City of Houston expressly says it is settling with these strip clubs as a way to combat trafficking. In actuality, trafficking in Houston will worsen significantly due to this settlement.
 

Now, there 
has been some speculation in news articles that this settlement needs to be voted upon by City Council before it is implemented, but an email from a City Council Community Liasion has stated that a vote is not required. It is quite probable that this settlement will be implemented without a vote. 

To keep young American girls from being trafficked, Free the Captives is fighting this settlement, and your urgent help is needed. There are several things that you and your family can do today:
  • Adults: Call the Mayor's Office by contacting Constituent Services directly. Mr. Stephen David, over Constituent Services for the Mayor, can be reached at 832-393-1012. A sample script: "Please inform the mayor that I am against the city's settlement with 16 strip clubs. Allowing them to operate with less restrictions, specifically allowing lap dances, will cause an increase in sex trafficking. This settlement will enslave more teenaged girls in trafficking. Please protect Houston's youth."
  • Kids: Write to the Mayor. We have a letter on our website for you to sign, and you can include your own personal note.
Every single phone call and letter makes a difference! Get involved today. This is just the first step; join us as we fight for Houston's children. Your voice is the voice of every trafficking victim in Houston who cannot be heard!




Join Free the Captives in the fight against human trafficking with our 4th Annual Conference!

At Free the Captives' 4th Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference, you will develop an understanding of the root causes of human trafficking, the severity of the problem and how you can get involved. Our goal is to equip you to make a difference!

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:30am to 4:00pm

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church
5300 Main Street, Houston, TX 77004

COST: $25 per person online, online registration closes 1/19/14; $30 at the door

Registration includes lunch.

REGISTER ONLINE: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/houston-anti-human-trafficking-conference.php





Free the Captives' Newsletter October 2013

Human Trafficking Law Symposium, Oct. 25, 3 Hours MCLE Credit - free

Free the Captives and the Harris County District Attorney's Office is pleased to announce their joint Human Trafficking Law Symposium with an emphasis on the trafficking of American teenagers in Houston. District Attorney Devon Anderson will kick off this event with her opening remarks. This free event will provide attorneys with 3 hours of continuing legal education credit. Join us on October 25, Friday, at the Jury Plaza, 1201 Congress Ave., Houston, TX 77002.:45am to 12:30pm.

Our speakers include:
  •  District Attorney Devon Anderson: "The Focus of the DA's Office on Human Trafficking"
  •  Julie Waters, JD, Founder and Director of Free the Captives: "Understanding the Characteristics of Teenaged Victims of Trafficking"
  •  Ann Johnson, JD, Assistant District Attorney: "Prosecution of Trafficking Cases in Harris County"
  •  Sherri Zack, JD, DOJ Assistant US Attorney: "Prosecution of Trafficking Cases in Federal Court"
  •  Judge Michael Schneider315th Juvenile District Court: "Specialty Courts for Teen Victims of Trafficking"
This event is open to the general public. Please feel free to invite your friends by forwarding them this email.

Spoken Word and Art Exhibit, Oct. 12 (THIS Saturday!)

Webster Presbyterian Church is proud to host FREEDOM: A Concert to Free the Captives featuring the art and poetry of Anya Ezhevskaya on Saturday evening, October 12.  This is a fundraiser concert, where all proceeds will be donated to the Houston-based organization Free the Captives. Tickets at $10 will be sold at the door beginning at 6:15 PM. A coffee and sweets reception will start the evening, followed by the concert at 7:00 PM sharp. Webster Presbyterian Church is located at 201 West NASA Parkway, Webster, TX.  

Anya Ezhevskaya was born in Russia but raised in the States. During the concert, Anya will paint live to music on stage. It is a magical experience to see a painting come alive in a matter of minutes. Anya’s spoken word poetry is a performance-type verse: fun and playful or thought-provoking, poignant, even jarring. The audience will leave the performance feeling entertained and uplifted. Anya expects to complete three paintings during the show, which will then be silent-auctioned.

Salsa Dance to Fight Human Trafficking, Oct. 20

S.T.A.N.D. is hosting a fun evening of salsa dancing to benefit Free the Captives. Join us on Sunday, October 20, from 6-10 pm for a night of social dancing and performances at the Houston Dance Factory, 5711 Hillcroft St, Ste D3, Houston, Texas 77036. You can wear a Halloween costume if you would like. There is a minimum $10 donation at the door. It will be fun! www.standhouston.org

Free the Captives' Christmas Market - SAVE THE DATE: Nov. 15 & 16

Free the Captives is hosting our first ever Christmas Market, where you can buy necklaces and soap made by the girls that we serve, along with many other wonderful items from a variety of vendors. Plan to do your Christmas shopping and fight human trafficking at the same time! Our Christmas Market will be on November 15 and 16at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire, Bellaire, TX. 10% of the proceeds of this market will go to Free the Captives and help us in the fight against human trafficking.

We are still accepting vendors. To apply to become a vendor at our Christmas Market,by Oct. 25, please complete the following online application at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php. You will also need to mail a $15 application fee to Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094. Vendors, you can fight human trafficking by being a part of our Christmas Market! 

Free the Captives' Newsletter - Sept. 15, 2013

New Creations' Summer Highlights

Thank you for praying for us this summer! Free the Captives' New Creations program was amazing. To combat human trafficking, we provided job training and stipends to the girls that we serve. God moved and worked in these girls' lives so clearly. We are thankful to all the volunteers, interns, donors, and churches that made this summer happen!

Everyday, the girls made beautiful, handcrafted FairTrade necklaces and soap!
         

We were blessed beyond belief to have six amazing interns. They worked incredibly hard and served the girls wholeheartedly. The interns helped the girls to learn God's word and live it out. We also worked on teaching the girls about savings/budgeting, cooking, ballet, painting, and Microsoft Office.


We had many special guests that came and shared about their careers. Coppelia, a DJ from KSBJ, blessed us with her cheerful smile and kind heart! Here she is wearing one of our necklaces and showing off our soap!


The women of Grace Bible Church donated entire professional wardrobes for our girls. On this special day, the girls learned how to dress professionally, interview, and have proper etiquette from an image consultant. The girls looked incredible in their new business outfits, and their self confidence increased a great deal.  


Fox26 was a fantastic partner for Free the Captives. They allowed the girls to visit the set, and we had lunch with the anchors and reporters. Fox26 also did a story on New Creations: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/video?clipId=9154109. Below, Adela Rushing, a hardworking and devoted FTC volunteer, is being interviewed for this story. Adela, we appreciate YOU!
           

We took the girls on a beach retreat to Galveston! On the way, we stopped at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugarland and had a personal tour given by Director Adrienne Barker. See the dinosaur behind these lovely ladies?


We were blessed to stay in an amazing beach house in Galveston. The girls loved burying each other in the sand. Here is a brave intern joining in on the fun! It was great to see the sun set and hear the girls reflect on what they learned this summer. One girl shared about how New Creations helped to improve her attitude and how her family could see the positive changes in her.


The next day, we hit Schiltterbahn! The girls were fearless, even on the scariest of water slides!


We held our Graduation Gala at the Taste of Texas. We were so blessed to have this special evening donated by this generous restaurant. The girls got dressed up in formal gowns donated by Clear Lake Presbyterian Church. For graduation gifts, Rev. Mark Downs donated pearl necklaces, and Crosby Church donated professional gift bags of watches, black binders, gift cards, and office supplies. It was prom and graduation all rolled into one event!


This summer, we also worked on public speaking with the girls. At the Graduation Gala, the girls presented Powerpoint slides on what they had learned this summer. Our esteemed guests, including Sheriff Adrian Garcia, noted how professional and mature our girls were during their presentations. For many of them, this was their first public speaking opportunity, and they nailed it!



All in all, this summer was an ongoing testament to God's love and grace in these girls' lives. We had our share of challenges, but God was always victorious. I got a call from one of the girls this weekend. She said, "I don't worry about things anymore. God has taken all that away from me."

God is bringing peace and healing into these girls' lives. 
Thank you for being a part of their healing. Your prayers truly made the difference! Please continue to pray for the girls as they return to school and strive towards the future that God has for them!

Spoken Word and Art Exhibit, Oct. 12

Webster Presbyterian Church is proud to host FREEDOM: A Concert to Free the Captives featuring the art and poetry of Anya Ezhevskaya on Saturday evening, October 12.  This is a fundraiser concert, where all proceeds will be donated to the Houston-based organization Free the Captives. Tickets at $10 will be sold at the door beginning at 6:15 PM.  A coffee and sweets reception will begin, followed by the concert at 7:00 PM sharp. Webster Presbyterian Church is located at 201 West NASA Parkway, Webster, TX.  

Anya Ezhevskaya was born in Russia but raised in the States. During the concert, Anya will paint live to music on stage. It is a magical experience to see a painting come alive in a matter of minutes.  Anya’s spoken word poetry is a performance-type verse:  fun and playful or thought-provoking, poignant, even jarring.  The audience will leave the performance feeling entertained and uplifted.  Anya expects to complete three paintings during the show, which will then be silent-auctioned.

Free the Captives and District Attorney's Human Trafficking Symposium, Oct. 25

Mark your calendars for Oct. 25 at the Jury Assembly Room from 8:30am to 12:30pm! Free the Captives has partnered with the Harris County District Attorney's Office to present to you information about human trafficking and how it is being fought through the legal system. Speakers will be presenting from the US Department of Justice, Juvenile Court, District Attorney's Office, and Free the Captives. This free event is open to the public. Attorneys may receive 3 hours of CLES (pending). 

Free the Captives' Christmas Market - Seeking Vendors

Free the Captives is hosting our first ever Christmas Market, where we will be selling necklaces and soap made by the girls that we serve. We are also seeking vendors to join us for fantastic event. Our Christmas Market will be on November 15 and 16 at Crosspoint Church, 4601 Bellaire, Bellaire, TX. Vendors will donate 10% of their proceeds from our market to Free the Captives to fight the sex trafficking of teens in Houston.

To apply to become a vendor at our Christmas Market, there are two steps. First, please complete the following online application at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/christmas-market.php. Secondly, you will also need to mail a $15 application fee to Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094. Don't delay! Spots are filling quickly! For questions, please email Amy Pickett at cp318@sbcglobal.net. Vendors, you can fight human trafficking by being a part of our Christmas Market! 

Free the Captives' Newsletter: June 28, 2013


New Creations, Free the Captives' paid educational fellowship program, is in full swing! We appreciate everyone who has been praying for us. You are making a difference in the fight against human trafficking. Check out pictures from this week!

                         

Everyday, our teenaged girls are busy making necklaces and soap. To maintain Fairtrade standards, the raw materials used in each product is manufactured in the US as opposed to overseas. At Free the Captives, we proudly support American businesses. 

                           Laptops Needed


At New Creations, we are also providing intense job training. As pictured above, the girls are being trained to use Quickbooks, an accounting software. Additionally, the girls are becoming proficient in Microsoft Office. Currently, we need four more laptops in good condition that have Microsoft Office. Please email julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com if you would like to donate a laptop.

                             

We also provide lunch for the girls everyday. Often, this may be the only meal that our girls get for that day. We take them to the grocery store and teach them how to shop on a budget. Then, we teach them how to cook healthy meals. You can help provide food for our girls by mailing Walmart and HEB gift cards to Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094. Any amount would be greatly appreciated!

                             


Free the Captives has partnered with Fox26 to raise more awareness about the trafficking of American teens in Houston. This week, we filmed for a news story about New Creations that will air mid-July. 

                                       
               

**EXCITING NEWS!** Second Baptist Church has the very first bookstore that will carry Free the Captives' products made by our New Creations' girls! Starting onJuly 8, you can purchase beautiful, handcrafted soaps and necklaces made by our girls at Second Baptist's bookstore at their main campus located at 6400 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057. We are very blessed in our continued partnership with Second Baptist. Their support and generosity is overwhelming! All proceeds from purchases go directly to the girls' stipends.

If you know of a church bookstore or retail shop that would like to carry Free the Captives' products, please email julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com. Please include the name, email, and phone number of the appropriate person to contact. Thank you for your help!




Paid High School Internships Needed for Our Girls
 
This summer, Free the Captives provides intense job training for the girls that we serve. Through our paid educational fellowship program, New Creations, we are training the girls to become model employees for professional job settings. As they are making jewelry and soap, we are helping them to develop strong work ethic and social skills such as maintaining a positive attitude, perseverance, punctuality, responsibility, and going the "extra mile." We are also teaching them how to budget and save by matching 10% of what they save each week from their stipends. Additionally, the girls are becoming adept at Microsoft Office and Quickbooks, an accounting software. Lastly, we focus on resume writing, interviewing, and appropriate work place attire.

How can you be a part of our girls' healing and restoration? We need businesses and organizations to provide paid, part-time internships to our high school girls for the fall. Internship opportunities require the following:
  • Professional business settings, preferably in an office. We want to expand their opportunities beyond fast food and grocery stores.
  • Employers must be willing to take on 16 and 17 year old girls.
  • Provide at least minimum wage for their salaries for 10 to 20 hours per week, after the girls' school day ends.
  • Employers must be located either in downtown Houston or near a bus stop. Many girls rely on public transportation.
  • Employers must be discrete about the girls' backgrounds.
  • Employers must be willing to hire the girls from September through December 2013.
  • Employers will present the internships to our girls at our New Creations' Graduation Gala on August 12.
If you can help with an internship, please contact as soon as possible Julie Waters, director of Free the Captives, at julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com. These internships will make all the difference in the world to these girls. You will be breaking the cycle of poverty for many of the girls and giving them hope for a better life. Please send this email to anyone who may be able to provide an internship.

Houston Chronicle Op-Ed Article: "Ending Houston's Bad Reputation"
by Julie Waters, Director of Free the Captives 

Published June 14, 2013
 

Houston has the great privilege of hosting the Super Bowl in 2017, but with that comes the great responsibility of combatting the inevitable spike in sex trafficking.

Just as during the Offshore Technology Conference in May, whenever large numbers of people gather, there is an increase in the sex trade. Why? Because there are men who want to buy sex. And because of these men, traffickers will recruit young girls into the sex trade to meet the demand.

Houston will continue to be a sex trafficking hub as long as society tolerates the buying of sex. Sex trafficking and prostitution are intrinsically linked. They are not the same, but they are very much connected.

The average age of entry into the sex trade is between 12 to 14 years old. If you see a 32-year-old woman involved in prostitution, chances are she was lured into the sex trade as a young girl.

Traffickers are seeking girls who have been sexually abused at a young age. Their targets typically have no dependable father figure; they have low self-esteem; they run away from home often and usually come from dysfunctional homes. No gun is needed to force this girl into trafficking; the trafficker can simply ply her with a few cheap trinkets and words of affection. It is important to remember, however, that if a minor is involved, this is a federal crime.

Changing societal attitudes is not a hopeless, uphill battle. We can change. And we have already started.

In partnership with Free the Captives, Sheriff Adrian Garcia has made it very clear that buyers would not be tolerated in Harris County. His department arrested 12 Johns in one day during the Offshore Technology Conference. Houston Police, meanwhile, arrested 31 Johns from April 26 to May 10. District Attorney Mike Anderson is aggressively prosecuting the buyers as well. These government officials understand the role that the Johns are playing in sex trafficking.

Together, we can protect our children from sex trafficking. First, we need to view the buying of sex as unacceptable. Second, get involved. Free the Captives needs volunteers to spread awareness, work with trafficked teens and at-risk youth and fight the demand for commercial sex.

We do not want to be known as a hub for sex trafficking, nor as a city that tolerates men who buy sex. We want Houston to be known as a great place to live and work. Let's change the way we view buying sex and make our city safe for our children.

Julie Waters, director and founder, Free the Captives, a Houston-based anti-human trafficking organization.
 

Share this Op-Ed Article on Human Trafficking

If you want to help spread awareness about human trafficking, share this op-ed article by forwarding this email to your friends or sharing the link below on Facebook and Twitter by copying and pasting. You can also click on the Houston's Chronicle's link below and share it through their website.



Free the Captives' Newsletter: June 2, 2013

Psalm 18:1916 Year Old Trafficking Victim Rescued!

In mid-May, Free the Captives helped rescue a 16 year old trafficking victim in Houston. A member of the public had watched news coverage of Free the Captives' anti-trafficking work during the Offshore Technology Conference and contacted us with highly detailed information about this victim's location and circumstances.

Using our contacts within law enforcement, we helped to facilitate this successful rescue operation. In an incredibly short amount of time, this girl was rescued by law enforcement. We praise God for His faithfulness and for law enforcement's hard work and dedication!


The Greatest Summer Ever: Stipends and Job Training for Victims

For the last six months, Free the Captives has been developing and fine tuning one of our most important programs to date - New Creations. New Creations is our paid educational fellowship for the girls that we serve. In this fellowship, the girls will be earning a stipend for creating jewelry and soap that will be sold to the public, while they receive extensive job training and life skills classes. New Creations will serve as a stepping stone for girls to leave behind their past as we equip them to find professional jobs and complete their education. 

We need your help in making New Creations a success! While financial and materialdonations are needed, we truly need your prayers. Everything that we take for granted, like a fridge full of food or a car that runs, Free the Captives' girls do not have. Just getting to the site of New Creations' will be very difficult for our girls. These teens don't have a mother who will wake them up on time nor do they have reliable transportation.These girls need your prayers. I cannot over-estimate this need. 
Free the Captives' New Creations
Sign up for our prayer calendar. We want two people to pray throughout each day in 30 minute time slots for every day that the girls are involved in New Creations. From
 June 5 to August 15, we need 32 people every single day praying for our girls. Signing up takes less than a minute. You can pray for the effectiveness of this ministry by praying the following: 
  • Pray for their hearts and attitudes.
  • Pray the girls' transportation issues and their families.
  • Pray for transformation of their hearts and minds.
  • Pray for peace and healing.
  • Pray that God would provide partnerships with businesses that would hire the girls after they complete New Creations.
  • Pray for protection for the girls and staff.
  • Pray that God would continue to provide for every single aspect of this ministry.
  • Pray that the girls' experience hope, joy, and laughter this summer.
  • Pray that God would be honored throughout New Creations.
Additionally, we post prayer requests and updates on Free the Captives' Facebook page. You can "like" our Facebook page to get real time updates on New Creations. Thank you for praying. I cannot begin to tell you how many prayers have been answered after we shared requests on Facebook. Thank you for serving in this incredibly important capacity.Girls' lives are changed because of God working through YOUR prayers! 

Request a free Anti-Human Trafficking Speaker 

Free the Captives has expanded our Speakers' Bureau on human trafficking. If you would like a speaker to come to your church, organization or school, please download ourSpeaker Request Form and email it to info@freethecaptiveshouston.com. We would be happy to send a speaker to your group (free of charge). 


Free the Captives' Anti-Human Trafficking Partners 

Free the Captives would like to acknowledge and honor the following organizations as partners for their support in the fight against human trafficking. This is only a partial listing. These churches have been instrumental in providing volunteers, financial resources, and spiritual support, while the government agencies have collaborated on key anti-trafficking campaigns, projects, and events. Law enforcement has been vigorous in rescuing victims and arresting traffickers and Johns. All of these organizations have played a vital role in striving towards the ending of human trafficking in Houston.


CHURCHES

  • Houston's First Baptist Church
  • Kingsland Baptist Church
  • St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
  • Woodlands Church
  • Lazybrook Baptist Church

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

  • Harris County Sheriff's Office
  • Houston Police Department
  • Harris County Juvenile Probation Department
  • Harris County District Attorney's Office
  • Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), Southern District of Texas

Tune into KSBJ Tonight at 7:30pm for Julie Waters' Interview on Human Trafficking 

Tonight on KSBJ, a Christian radio station in Houston, Julie Waters will be interviewed during the 7:00pm broadcast by Kim Wier, the "Sunday Night Live" Host. Julie's portion will air at approximately 7:30pm. As the director and founder of Free the Captives, Julie will discuss the horrific tragedy of the trafficking of American teens in Houston.  


Free the Captives' Newsletter - May 9, 2013

Sheriff Garcia Arrests 12 Johns in Fight against Sex Trafficking

12 Johns Arrested during Reverse StingIn a highly successful effort to combat sex trafficking during the OTC, on May 7, Sheriff Adrian Garcia arrested 12 men as they attempted to purchase sex from an undercover cop. Free the Captives and the Harris County Sheriff's Office have partnered together in the fight against human trafficking by focusing specifically on the "Johns" or the men who are buying girls and women.

In preparation for the Offshore Technology Conference, with its 80,000 attendees, Free the Captives and Sheriff Garcia launched a media blitz warning the Johns that they will be arrested. This campaign consisted of the "Buyer Beware" commercialradio PSAs,"Buy Sex? Bye, bye Freedom" billboards, and handing out flyers to OTC attendees.

"Sex slavery is illegal. One way to end that problem is to end the demand," said Sheriff Garcia in an interview with CW39 Newsfix. Julie Waters, director and founder of Free the Captives, said in an interview with ABC13, "If you want to effectively fight sex trafficking, you have to go to the root of the issue, and that's the buyers."

ARRESTED JOHNS

First Row: left to right: Michael Nicholson, Greggory Arthur Mitchell, Ratilal K Patel
Second Row: left to right: Zenaido Martínez, Andrew Bray, Hung Vo
Third Row: left to right: José Arévalo, Héctor Aparacio, Byron F Fuentes
Fourth Row: left to right: Lee Henry Harris, Elbert C Thompson, Eliu D García


Free the Captives' Anti-Human Trafficking Billboards on I-45 and I-10

FTC Billboard on I-45

Have you seen Free the Captives' billboard on I-45N? After you exit I-10 onto I-45N, this billboard is on the right side after you pass the exit for Calvacade. 

FTC Billboard I-10

This anti-human trafficking billboard is located on I-10 and can be seen as you head west towards Katy on your left side. You will see the sign after you pass the exits for Beltway 8 and Wilcrest. It is before the Kirkwood exit, westbound on I-10.

If you see our billboards, let us know. Leave us a comment on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FreetheCaptivesHouston. You and your church can also help sponsor one of our billboards that will be seen by 8 million Houstonians per month!


Request a free Anti-Human Trafficking Speaker 

Free the Captives has expanded our Speakers' Bureau on human trafficking. If you would like a speaker to come to your church, organization or school, please download our Speaker Request Form and email it to info@freethecaptiveshouston.com. We would be happy to send a speaker to your group (free of charge). 


A Big Thanks to OTC Outreach Volunteers and Prayer Partners!

OTC Volunteers

Free the Captives is so appreciative to all of our volunteers who came out during the OTC and passed out flyers to conference attendees. Thank you for sacrificing your valuable time and spreading the word about human trafficking. A huge "thanks" goes to Jessica Sarpu for her time and dedication to this project!

We are also very grateful to our faithful supporters who prayed all week. As has been noted many times before, your prayers truly make the difference. Everything that Free the Captives has done successfully is because of your prayers and God's protection and guidance. The most powerful thing that you can do to stop sex trafficking is to PRAY. We truly appreciate all of our Facebook prayer partners! Your continued, faithful prayers have carried this ministry. "Never ceasing praying..." -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Free the Captives' Newsletter - May 1, 2013

Watch Free the Captives' Anti-Trafficking Commercial TONIGHT on Fox, 9pm

Buyer Beware Video
 

Tune in tonight to Fox26 (KRIV Houston) at 9pm to catch Free the Captives' anti-human trafficking commercial featuring Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Thank you for helping us to raise funds in order to reach 2 million viewers! The goal of the commercial is to educate the public about human trafficking, and more specifically, warn the men who purchase girls and women that they WILL be arrested and held accountable for their role in fueling human trafficking. 

Watch tonight, May 1, between 9pm and 10pm or set your DVR to record Fox26. Our commercial will air tonight unless there is breaking news coverage. Also, you can click here to watch the commercial, or catch it as it continues to air on Fox26. Help us get the word out about our anti-trafficking commercial. Tell your friends to watch tonight by forwarding this email to them!


Check out our Anti-Human Trafficking Billboards on I-45 and I-10

FTC Billboard on I-45

Have you seen Free the Captives' billboard on I-45N? After you exit I-10 onto I-45N, this billboard is on the right side after you pass the exit for Calvacade. 

FTC Billboard I-10

This anti-human trafficking billboard is located on I-10 and can be seen as you head west towards Katy on your left side. You will see the sign after you pass the exits for Beltway 8 and Wilcrest. It is before the Kirkwood exit, westbound on I-10.

If you see our billboards, let us know! Leave us a comment on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FreetheCaptivesHouston.


Fight Human Trafficking: Sponsor a Billboard

Want to see more of Free the Captives' billboards around Houston? Then, sponsor a billboard! We need individuals, churches, and groups to help us put up more billboards around our city. Each of our billboards cost between $3000 to $4500 per month depending on the location. Billboards are highly effective in reaching large amounts of the public. 
 

In one day, 267,300 people will see
Free the Captives' billboard on I-45.

In one monthover 8 million people will see it!


Help us get the word out about human trafficking! Sponsor an entire billboard for a month in a prime location for $4500 and educate 8 million Houstonians.

This is a great way for Bible study groups, Sunday school classes, and high school and college students to get involved. Of course, any amount donated would be greatly appreciated and make a significant impact! You can donate online at 
http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/contact-us-and-donations.php or mail a check to Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094. All donations are tax deductible since Free the Captives is a 501(c)3 non-profit.


Listen to our Radio PSAs targeting the Johns

Free the Captives also has anti-human trafficking public service announcements (PSAs) currently airing on the radio. Listen to the PSA on our website. To create future PSAs, we need:

  1. Writers of radio PSAs to donate their time to help create new PSAs.
  2. Donations of studio time so that we can record new PSAs.OTC outreach to Johns
  3. Your radio station connections. Do you have connections at radio stations that would play our PSAs? If so, please sendinfo@freethecaptiveshouston.com the name and email address of your radio station contact.

Sign up today for OTC Outreach to Johns

80,000 people will come to Houston for the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in early May. Human trafficking has historically spiked during this conference. Help us combat trafficking during the OTC by distributing 5000 flyers (pictured here) to conference attendees. 

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 2, is the last day to sign up! Join our team of 90+ volunteers on Tuesday, May 7 at 5:45pm as we meet up at Discovery Green before we head over to Minute Maid Park. Sign up to get specifics on meeting locations and instructions. If you cannot attend, pray for us! Pray that we would have a high impact and that we would pass out these flyers to key people on May 7. Thank you!


Only 3 Days left to Apply for Volunteer Training

This summer, Free the Captives is offering an indepth, eight week training for those wanting to volunteer with us. From public speakers to working with the girls to accounting and graphic design, there are many ways that you can get involved. Our goal is to help you use your God given gifts and talents in the fight against human trafficking.

Go to our website for a detailed list of volunteer opportunities, training dates and the required reading for the training. Since we only offer this training once a year, we have extended the application deadline. Request an application by emailing info@freethecaptiveshouston.com no later than Friday, May 3, and postmark your application by Monday, May 6



Free the Captives' Newsletter - January 6, 2013:

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual
Houston Human Trafficking Conference


Join us in the fight against human trafficking!

WHEN: Friday, March 1, 2013, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 7:30am to 1:00pm

WHERE: Second Baptist Church
6400 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057

COSTS: $20 for Registration until February 20;
$25 afterwards and at the door: 
REGISTER HERE


 
Speakers Include:

District Attorney Mike Anderson, Harris County District Attorney's Office
Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Harris County Sheriff's Office
Dr. Linda Marten, Biblical Counseling Dept., Dallas Theological Seminary
Dennis Mark, Redeemed Ministries
Julie Waters, Free the Captives
Daniel Salce
Kellie Armstrong

Coppelia, DJ, 89.3 KSBJ

FTC 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking ConferenceFree the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference is geared towards:
  • educating the community about human trafficking,
  • helping individuals to understand the needs of victims,
  • offering hope and healing to the abused and captive, and
  • providing immediate and tangible ways for people to fight trafficking.
Questions? Check out our FAQ page. The conference is less than two months away! Help us get the word out by forwarding this email to your friends. We recommend early registration because space is limited.

Reducing the Demand Campaign: Volunteer!


Free the Captives is launching a marketing campaign to educate the public, specifically the men buying girls and women, about the realities of human trafficking. We need your help in creating commercials and print ads. People from ALL backgrounds are encouraged to attend, and we especially need people with video and filming experience. Join us!
  • January 12, Saturday
  • 3:00pm to 5:30pm
  • Houston's First Baptist Church, Room 145, 7401 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77024
  • Sign up here to volunteer and make a difference in Houston!

Newsflash:
  • To request a speaker for your group, please fill out our speaker request form. We also have awareness presentations geared specifically for junior high and high school students.
  • Free the Captives is currently accepting college intern applications for 2013.

Free the Captives' December 2012 Newsletter:

2012 Traffick Report from Free the Captives


The Year in Numbers
 
-- Served 55 Houston human trafficking victims and at risk girls
-- Educated and trained over 2000 people on human trafficking
-- Equipped 54 hotels to recognize human trafficking
-- Increased John arrests by collecting 15,0000+ letters for local and state officials


An Overview of our Programs and Projects
 
Direct Services for Trafficking Victims and at Risk Girls
  • During 2012, Free the Captives served 55 human trafficking victims and at risk girls in the Houston area.
  • Free the Captives has greatly expanded the direct services that we provide to victims of human trafficking. Besides mentoring, we have provided victims with rescue assistance, medical and dental services, educational assistance, job placement, housing assistance, safe home referrals, financial planning, and groceries and other material needs.
  • We have a weekly prevention program for at risk teenaged girls, where we develop life skills that make them less vulnerable to traffickers, and a parenting support group to assist their parents in stabilizing their home lives.
  • By investing in one girl at a time, lives have been changed. Survivors have gotten back on track with their education, secured employment, and are developing financial stability.
Contributions for Free the Captives' Services to Girls
  • Healthy, home cooked meals for the girls in our mentoring groups were provided by Cypress Bible Church, Grace Bible Church, Second Baptist, Tallowood Baptist, and Houston Chinese Church.Christmas presents for girls
  • Christ Community Church provided interview clothing and backpacks of school supplies for our girls at a fantastic career and educational workshop that the church hosted.
  • Second Baptist, the North Campus, provided our programs with Bibles, journals, and craft supplies. These generous donations were a great blessing!
  • Gift bags of hygiene products, toothpaste, and lotion as well as clothing and Christmas gifts were provided by Texas A&M Phi Lamb Sorority, Houston Chinese Church, Tallowood Baptist, Lakewood Church, Ragan Savedra, Christi Bowe, Kerri Washburn, and Amy Pickett.

Training and Education for the Public
  • In February 2012, Free the Captives’ 2nd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference educated over 500 people through 18 presentations.FTC 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
  • We invite you to our 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference on March 1-2, 2013 at Second Baptist Church. Sheriff Adrian Garcia will be one of the speakers, and Coppelia, a DJ at KSBJ and talented singer, will be leading worship. Register online today to reserve your spot.
  • In 2012, through numerous presentations to churches, universities and civic groups, Free the Captives has educated over 2000 adults and youth.
  • During Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Free the Captives trained volunteers that educated and equipped staff at 54 local hotels and motels on the signs of human trafficking.
  • To request a speaker for your group, please fill out our speaker request form. We also have awareness presentations geared specifically for junior high and high school students.
Reducing the Demand Campaign
  • Free the Captives believes that human trafficking in Houston will always be a problem as long as the buyers are purchasing girls and women. Through ourReducing the Demand Campaign, the public has urged Houston city officials and law enforcement to arrest the buyers.
  • In March 2012, over 11,000 letters were collected for Gov. Perry, asking him to put pressure on Houston city officials and law enforcement to arrest the buyers.
  • Throughout 2012, an additional 4,000 letters and postcards regarding the arrests of the buyers were mailed to Mayor Parker, Chief of Police McClelland, Sheriff Garcia, and former District Attorney Lykos. Officer Appreciation Luncheon
  • Your letters have made a difference! In October 2012, the Sheriff’s Office and HPD conducted stings and arrested 49 buyers, including a vice president at Halliburton.
  • In October 2012, at our Officer Appreciation Luncheon at the Taste of Texas, we honored over 30 officers from the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office for their work in arresting the men who buy girls and women. Free the Captives presented Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Constable Ron Hickman, and HPD Captain S.A. Smith with Freedom Awards.
  • We need your help with Phase 5 of our Reducing the Demand Campaign. Volunteers are needed to create, fund, and publicize a marketing campaign that educates men about the realities of trafficked girls. Sign up for our first strategy meeting on Jan. 12 at Houston’s First Baptist Church.

Special Thanks to:
  • Churches: Houston Chinese Church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Houston’s First Baptist Church, Christ Community Church, Second Baptist Church, Kingsland Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Houston, Rice Temple Baptist, Lakewood Church, First United Methodist Church, Fellowship of the Woodlands, Tallowood Baptist Church, Bethany Christian Church, First Baptist Church of Katy, First Baptist Church of Richmond, Woodridge Baptist Church, Harvest Community Church, Grace Bible Church, Bridgepoint Bible Church, Lazybrook Baptist Church, Fort Bend Community Church, St. Luke’s Methodist Church, Cypress Bible Church, Grace Fellowship of Ft. Bend
  • People: Lisa Blackard, Edd Hendee, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam, Robin Moore, TL Grover, Jennifer Tunehag, Mark Harris, Jessica Meyer, Hilary Rock, Ragan Savedra, Melvin Huang, Myra Yang, Naomi Bang, Ben Waters, Betsy Denson, JennaDee Detro, Leslie Natale, Rhonda Graff, Rachel Boone, Lauren England, Rebecca Allen, Krysta Williams, Sally McDonald, Sally Sooby, Omar Garcia, John Melsness, Stephanie Newman, William Taylor, Allana Manning, Paul and Christin Thonnard, Wayne Stark, Paul Kalil, Katie Laitkep, Vanessa Floyd, Caitlin Levine, Rebecca Campbell, Laura Broussard, Ann and Bill McCulloch
  • Organizations: Taste of Texas, Rice University, Houston Baptist University, University of Houston Law Center, South Texas College of Law, Texas A&M University, Breakaway Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, Houston Bar Association, June Adcox Photography, College of Biblical Studies, Studio Detro, Rockwell Foundation, BP, El Paso Corporation, Radiant Cosmetics, National Christian Foundation
Internships/College Opportunities
  • This year, we had three wonderful college interns and hosted a missions team from Texas A&M University.
  • We are grateful for the support of the following Texas A&M groups: Sigma Phi Lambda, BYX, Chi Omega, FREE and Freedom Movement. We have also enjoyed working with students from Rice University, College of Biblical Studies, and Houston Baptist University.
  • Free the Captives is currently accepting intern applications for 2013.

Dear Friends,

Thank YOU for making all of this work possible through your prayers and support! Your help and time has truly made the difference in the fight against human trafficking. You have given these girls a voice. As we celebrate Christmas, let us all be thankful for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His birth, death, and resurrection!

For His Name and Glory,
Free the Captives

Free the Captives' Newsletter - Nov. 4, 2012
Volunteer for FTC's Marketing Campaign
For Phase 5 of the Reducing the Demand Campaign, Free the Captives is launching a marketing campaign geared towards educating the general public about why it is unacceptable for men to purchase girls and women. After Sheriff Garcia's recent arrests of buyers/Johns, it is apparent that many Houstonians really do not see a problem with men buying women. Clearly, this mentality must shift in order to eliminate trafficking.

We need volunteers in all capacities to create a successful awareness campaign. We need people from all backgrounds to help create, develop, and fund a widespread campaign against the buyers. Mark your calendars for our first planning meeting on Saturday, January 12, 2013 from 3:00pm to 5:30pm at Houston's First Baptist Church, 7401 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77024.


We are looking for:
  • Graphic designers
  • Marketing professionals
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Writers
  • Actors
  • Fundraisers
  • Project managers
  • Connectors/Networkers
  • Social media savvy people
This campaign hopes to utilize a broad array of marketing tools from billboards, videos, social media, commercials and ads. Even if you do not have experience in one of the areas above, we still need your help in getting this campaign off the ground. Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested and sign up here to RSVP for the meeting.

Spring Internships - Applications due Nov. 21st
Free the Captives is seeking college students who want to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. Spring interns will gain broad exposure by working on projects that directly impact human trafficking. This internship will prepare you for an anti-human trafficking career by developing your knowledge and skills in this area. Please email julie@freethecaptiveshouston.com for an application. Completed applications must be postmarked by November 21, 2012.

Duties:
  • Working approximately 15 to 20 hours per week (unpaid internship)
  • Assisting with FTC's Prevention and Intervention Program, which includes working with trafficked and at-risk girls
  • Supporting different aspects of the Reducing the Demand Campaign
  • Attending a variety of human trafficking meetings and events
  • Helping with FTC's 3rd Annual Human Trafficking Conference
  • Assisting in some clerical and administrative work

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years old, female, and enrolled in college

  • Must be kind, caring, and have a heart for the oppressed

  • Must be involved in a local church

  • Ability to pay strong attention to detail

  • Ability to prioritize and balance multiple projects simultaneously

  • Must be a team player with a positive attitude and be willing to learn

  • Ability to manage time effectively and meet deadlines 

  • Must be a self-starter, organized, and detail-oriented


Free the Captives' Officer Appreciation Luncheon
On October 15, 2012, Free the Captives organized an Officer Appreciation Luncheon for the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff's Office, and Harris County Constable's Office Precinct 4. As a part of ourReducing the Demand Campaign, this luncheon honored the work of law enforcement in arresting the buyers. Taste of Texas graciously hosted the luncheon and provided an amazing meal for thirty officers.

In attendance were Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Constable Ron Hickman, Lt. Andrew Lahaie, HPD Assistant Chief John Trevino, HPD Captain Smith, Major Michael Wong, along with undercover officers involved in the reverse stings.
 
Each law enforcement agency was given a "Freedom Award" commemorating their successful efforts in arresting the buyers.


Free the Captives is grateful to Robin Moore, Tallowood Baptist Church, Lauren Jones, and Christ Community Church for assembling personalized appreciation gift bags for each of the 30 officers at the luncheon. 

Free the Captives truly appreciates everyone's support of the Reducing the Demand Campaign. Your letters have made a difference! In October alone, law enforcement conducted four reverse stings. Houston Police Department arrested 32 buyers. On October 11, 2012, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, in conjunction with Constable Ron Hickman, arrested seven buyers for solicitation. On October 24, 2012, they arrested the following ten men:

  • Alvin Meschke. D.O.B. 07/15/57. 
  • Ahmad Abousway. D.O.B. 10/19/82. 
  • Elvis Ray Potts. D.O.B. 05/19/87. 
  • David Lynn Burt. D.O.B. 06/13/55. 
  • Christopher Jose Smith. D.O.B. 12/18/82. 
  • James Michael Sedberry. D.O.B. 10/28/59. 
  • Bryan Eric Dehner. D.O.B. 07/03/70.
  • Andrew Nelson Chester. D.O.B. 12/13/66. 
  • Mark Lewis Barvin. D.O.B. 08/04/55.
  • Jonathan David Fitch. D.O.B. 07/25/90. 

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
Register today for Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference! This conference is geared towards educating the community about human trafficking, helping individuals to understand the needs of victims, providing healing to the abused and captive, and discussing ways for people to fight trafficking. The conference registration page lists the presentations of the speakers and their biographies.
Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
 
The conference will be held at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057 in the Sanctuary on March 1, 2013 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and on March 2, 2013 from 7:30am to 1:00pm. Early registration is $20 per person until February 20, 2013. Registration increases to $25 after February 20, 2013 online and at the door. Early registration is recommended due to space limitations. Credit card payments will be accepted only online and not at the door.

Free the Captives' Human Trafficking Panel at Rice University, Nov. 14
As a part of the Rice Seminar, Free the Captives has been selected to organize and host a human trafficking panel at Rice University on November 14, 2012. You are invited to attend this free presentation. The panel will be held at 100 Herring Hall at 7:00pm and focus on efforts to combat human trafficking in Houston. Speakers include Julie Waters of Free the Captives, Dennis Mark of Redeemed Ministries, and Ed Gallagher of the US Attorney's Office.
 
   

Sheriff Garcia Arrests 7 More Buyers and Action Steps (October 14, 2012)

Sheriff Garcia Arrests 7 More Buyers
On October, 11, 2012, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, in conjunction with Constable Ron Hickman of Precinct 4, arrested seven more buyers for solicitation. The news article states that the seven buyers included an oil executive, who is a vice president at Halliburton, and provides their mugshots. 

These arrests are critical in stemming the tide against trafficking in Houston. Due to the nature of reverse stings, it is unclear if human trafficking was directly related to these arrests, but it is very important to note that human trafficking is fueled by men seeking to purchase girls and women. Buyers are creating a demand for girls that traffickers are happy to supply.

Since the beginning of Free the Captives' Reducing the Demand Campaign, city and county law enforcement have conducted 4 separate sting operations resulting in the arrests of 36 buyers. Friends, this is a HUGE success!

Each letter that you have mailed to law enforcement and city officials makes a difference! Your time and support makes our city safer for our children and gives hope to trafficked girls. 

Action Steps for You to Take Today!
It is important that we capitalize on the current momentum of these arrests. You can help by completing these action steps:
 
  • Step 2: Please forward this email to your friends. Men will continue to purchase girls unless they think that they will get caught. They need to know about the arrests. 
  • Step 3: Be a part of Phase 4 of Free the Captives' Reducing the Demand Campaign. Download our letter template, and write a thank you note to law enforcement for arresting the buyers. Law enforcement has limited resources, and stings are costly. Help us thank them for the hard work that they are doing to fight human trafficking. This is the perfect project for small groups, Bible study groups, and students!

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
Register today for Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference! This conference is geared towards educating the community about human trafficking, helping individuals to understand the needs of victims, providing healing to the abused and captive, and discussing ways for people to fight trafficking. The conference registration page lists the presentations of the speakers and their biographies.

The conference will be held at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057 in the Sanctuary on March 1, 2013 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and on March 2, 2013 from 7:30am to 1:00pm. Early registration is $20 per person until February 20, 2013. Registration increases to $25 after February 20, 2013 online and at the door. Early registration is recommended due to space limitations. Credit card payments will be accepted only online and not at the door.

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference (October 1, 2012)

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference

Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference
 
Register today for Free the Captives' 3rd Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference! This conference is geared towards educating the community about human trafficking, helping individuals to understand the needs of victims, providing healing to the abused and captive, and discussing ways for people to fight trafficking. The conference registration page lists the presentations of the speakers and their biographies.

The conference will be held at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77057 in the Sanctuary on March 1, 2013 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and on March 2, 2013 from 7:30am to 1:00pm. Early registration is $20 per person until February 20, 2013. Registration increases to $25 after February 20, 2013 online and at the door. Early registration is recommended due to space limitations.

Officer Appreciation; Bible Study and Training on Healing from Abuse (September 11, 2012)

Free the Captives' Newsletter
Reducing the Demand: Phase 4 - Officer Appreciation

Since the beginning of the Reducing the Demand Campaign in October 2011, concerned members of the public have sent in thousands of letters to Houston and state government officials. Free the Captives is excited to report that we are seeing the fruit of your labor!

Law enforcement has begun arresting the buyers. In February 2012, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia's Office arrested 8 buyers during reverse stings. More recently, in August 2012, Sheriff Garcia arrested 13 more buyers while Houston Police Department arrested 8 buyers. We need your help to celebrate the hard work of law enforcement arresting of the buyers. Each arrest is a victory in the fight against human trafficking!

To show our appreciation, please take the time to print and mail these letters to Sheriff Garcia's Office, Houston Police Department, District Attorney Lykos, and Mayor Parker. Each letter has space for you to write a personal note. Handwritten thank you notes are a lost art form, and they are always appreciated by the recipient. Please take the time to write a few words of encouragement; each personal note makes a huge impact!

The letters to law enforcement express our appreciation of their work and encourage them to continue arresting the buyers. The letter to the mayor asks her newly formed human trafficking committee to carefully research the role of buyers and devise strategies that focuses specifically on the buyers. The letter to the District Attorney requests that arrested buyers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The key to fighting trafficking is to go after those who are creating a demand for it - the buyers. We need your help! Please print these letters and get them signed by your co-workers, church members, and neighbors. Each letter that you mail in makes a significance difference by validating the work of law enforcement and the dire need to continue arresting buyers.


Volunteer Training and Bible Study on Healing from Abuse
Free the Captives is offering an intensive Bible study for those recovering from abuse and for those who want to help abused individuals. This ten week study is also a training requirement for those who want to volunteer with Free the Captives’ Prevention and Intervention Program to work with trafficked teens and at risk girls.

Each participant will need a copy of the book Mending the Soul: Understanding and Healing Abuse by Steven Tracy and the Mending the Soul workbook by Celestia Tracy. The Mending the Soul book looks at the nature and effects of physical, sexual and verbal abuse and provides a biblically based healing model for recovery from abuse. The workbook complements the book and helps the participant through the use of questions, art and journaling to learn tools to help in the recovery and healing process.

We are meeting on typically Sundays from October to December. You cannot miss more than one meeting to be eligible to volunteer for our Prevention and Intervention Program. The study will be from 3:00pm to 4:30pm at a church in West Houston near 1-10 and Highway 6. The dates are Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 17 (Sat), and Dec. 2, 9, 16. All dates are Sundays except for Nov. 17.

Purchase your own books and complete Chapter 1 in the workbook by October 7, our first session of the study. There will be weekly homework. The book can be purchased for $12 at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Mending-Soul-Understanding-Healing-Abuse/dp/0310285291/ref=tmm_pap_title_0. The workbook can be purchased at http://www.mendingthesoul.org/mts-store/#1 for $30 + shipping and handling. A few scholarships are available if needed. Please register and then email info@freethecaptiveshouston.com to request a scholarship.

The completion of this study is a part of Free the Captives’ volunteer application and screening process for the Prevention and Intervention Program. Volunteers, 21 and older, are needed for girls’ groups on Tuesdays from 4:30pm to 6:30pm or Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm for a two semester commitment. Not all attendees are guaranteed to be matched with a girls’ group, due to space limitations. We have a limited number of groups that need co-facilitators. Anyone who wants to work with our girls’ groups must complete this training and workbook. Even though you may not co-facilitate a group, we will find other opportunities for you to be involved in the fight against human trafficking. 

To sign up for this Bible study, please complete the following steps:

  1. Register online here.
  2. After you register online, you will need to buy your book and workbook and complete Chapter 1 of the workbook before our first meeting on Oct. 7. Please order your books early so that you will have time to complete the first chapter before Oct. 7.
  3. You will be emailed a volunteer application. Mail your completed volunteer application to Free the Captives, PO Box 940187, Houston, TX 77094. It must be postmarked by Sept. 28, 2012. All study participants must complete the application even if you do not plan to volunteer.
  4. All women completing these steps will be sent an email with the location of the study after your application is received.
Motel Human Trafficking Outreach Update
On September 8, 2012, during Free the Captives' Motel Human Trafficking Outreach, teams of volunteers went to 54 motels in the Houston area and educated their staff by handing out informational flyers and discussing the signs of trafficking. We truly appreciate everyone's time and help. We look forward to offering this outreach again! Below are some quotes from the outreach's volunteer teams:

  • "This outreach was effective. This could potentially save lives." 
  • "It was obvious that [our set] of motels could not sustain viability without the presence of trafficking."
  • "The motel manager's response was very positive. He wanted to post the [awareness] flyer in his window." 
  • "Very receptive. Seemed like he was willing to put up info. He had daughters and seemed able to relate to situation." 
  • "Went very well! The owner said he was going to post up information. He said that people come in with girls and ask for a room for just an hour or two and they [motel staff] always refuse service."
  • "It was evident that God placed exactly the right teams at the right locations. Our team was knowledgeable about trafficking associated with sporting events. We were assigned to a location right next to Reliant. I was asked several times "Why am I doing this?" I was able to share my heart for young people caught in this tragedy. One motel employee asked a lot of questions of how exactly she went about reporting suspected trafficking. Another employee took it upon herself to make copies of the Spanish handout for the housekeeping staff."
 
"Sex+Money" Movie Screening, Sept. 30
This eye opening documentary is about domestic minor trafficking and the modern-day abolitionist movement fighting to stop it. Since September 2009, the film crew has traveled to over 30 states and conducted more than 75 interviews with Johns, traffickers, federal agents, victims, politicians, activists, psychologists, and others. This free movie screening will be held from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on September 30 in the youth assembly room at the First United Methodist Church, 10570 Westpark Drive, Houston, TX 77042 and will be followed by a Q&A session with Free the Captives.


 

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