Posted on February 13, 2016 by Inka Mathew

Free the Captives is a faith-based, anti-human trafficking non-profit that fights the exploitation and trafficking of Houston’s youth. They engage and mobilize the Christian community while partnering with non-profits, law enforcement, and government agencies in the fight against modern day slavery. They provide direct services for teenaged victims of sex trafficking in the greater Houston area. They serve primarily trafficking victims between the ages of 12 and 18 years old, but also continue after they turn 18. Free the Captives' services are listed below.

Free the Captives offers a weekly support group for teenaged sex trafficking victims.

It is a safe, nurturing environment for the girls to share about their experiences in a non-judgmental setting. This has been one of their most successful programs for the girls.

Each meeting begins with a hot meal, which is followed by sharing and discussion. Also, girls are provided with material and financial support if needed and the services listed below.

Rescue Assistance for Victims
If a family member or someone in the community is being trafficked, Free the Captives can connect you to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and nonprofits that work to rescue victims of sex trafficking. They work closely with law enforcement to help families find their trafficked child.

Safe Home Referrals
Free the Captives connects trafficking victims to safe homes in the Houston area and nationally. They will refer and help place girls in a home or facility that is geared specifically for victims of sex trafficking. In these homes, victims are safe from their trafficker and receive counseling, an education, medical attention, and many other essential services.

Educational Services
Education is a vital component for survivors to build a new life. Free the Captives provides incentives to survivors of sex trafficking to encourage them to complete their education (GED, high school diploma, technical training, or college). To help them accomplish these goals, they provide individualized tutoring, GED services, also scholarships to victims who are attending college and have participated in their support and mentoring programs.

Job Preparation
Free the Captives provides the girls with job training, which includes interviewing skills, dressing for the workplace, developing a strong work ethic, and interfacing with customers. They also assist the girls in their job search, which is the number one goal for many of these girls. Our New Creations program has played a pivotal role in preparing girls for the workforce.

Financial Planning
After helping survivors gain employment, Free the Captives works with them and their families on stabilizing their financial situation. These services include mentoring, developing a monthly budget, and empowering them to make wise financial decisions.

Medical, Dental and Material Needs
They also assists survivors by providing for their physical needs, including medical, dental and materials (clothing, groceries, and furniture). Free the Captives is seeking medical and dental professionals, who are willing to donate their services for survivors of human trafficking. Please contact info@freethecaptiveshouston.com.

Advocacy and Legal Services
Provided at free or low cost, to both domestic and international trafficking victims. They assist families with navigating the legal system. They also expunge the records of victims of juveniles and assist international victims with obtaining their T-visa and adjustment of status.

Free the Captives has Small Group Mentoring and Prevention Programming, in which they mentor teenaged girls who are at high risk of being trafficked.

They focus on the issues that make them vulnerable to traffickers such as low self esteem and fatherlessness.

The goals are to prevent the trafficking of Houston’s at risk teens as well as identify victims within this hidden crime. Once identified, they intervene and work with law enforcement to rescue victims and then coordinate appropriate legal and social services. They also provide material needs such as clothing and food.

Free the Captives works closely with parents to rescue their child from human trafficking by connecting families with key law enforcement officers. After the rescue, they focus on getting the child into a treatment facility if needed.

Parenting Support Group
Free the Captives offers a support group for trafficked victims’ parents with ongoing support, training, counseling and resources. Stronger family units will allow these girls to recover more quickly and thrive as they focus on their futures.

Sex trafficking requires three parties: a supplier, a buyer, and the product. In human trafficking, the suppliers are the traffickers or the pimps, the buyers are the men who purchase sex (aka Johns), and the products are human beings used for sex slavery. Human trafficking is highly lucrative. When criminals sell guns or drugs, those commodities can only be sold once. However, a young girl can be sold over and over again – in one night.

It was not enough to just help the girls. They had to do something about the demand – the buyers – and fight sex trafficking at its root.

Thus, since 2011, Free the Captives have launched their successful campaign to end the demand. They organized a massive letter writing campaign to local and state officials. Over 15,000 letters were mailed. They also had an effective billboard, TV and radio campaign in partnership with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office that warned the buyers about the consequences of their actions. Through that partnership, there has been an increase in the number of men arrested for buying sex. Their work has helped the public and legislators to shift the focus onto the buyers, raised awareness to potential buyers, and increased the number of buyers arrested.

Free the Captives Presents Research Confirming Houston as a Major City for Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, Caused by High Demand from Buyers. They conducted this research project in collaboration with the Imagine Foundation, by logging in daily to Houston’s Backpage website. Backpage is a large classified ad listing that is often used by traffickers to sell their girls. To read and download the report, you can visit their Research page.

Raising awareness and educating the community about human trafficking is one of the pillars of Free the Captives. People cannot act if they are not aware of the severity of the trafficking problem that plagues Houston. Free the Captives has educated and trained thousands of people in Houston and across the country. From churches to law enforcement to students, many people have gained a better understanding of sex trafficking due to their speakers. You can request one of their speakers to come out and educate your organization about human trafficking by filling out this form.

You can help support Free the Captive’s work in fighting human trafficking by donating to their organization. They are a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and are primarily donor supported. Another way to support them is to purchase our shirts and spread the word about this wonderful organization! 10% of our sales from now until September 9 will be donated to Free the Captives.

For further information on Free the Captives, please visit their:
Website:  freethecaptiveshouston.com
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram