The Woodlands – They are amazing, beautiful and photogenic. They consist of leaders, advocates, law enforcement and some survivors who all assembled at a recent photoshoot in The Woodlands to draw attention to an ongoing problem in our community.
“Human trafficking does not have boundaries. It does not have a demographic,” said Kelly Litvak, founder of Childproof America.
The group of people was brought together by Childproof America, a nonprofit organization that assists families whose children have been targeted by sex traffickers.
“To say, ‘You know what, we have been victimized but we are victorious now,” said Litvak. “In our victory is unity.’”
Teresa J. Helm, who was a part of the photoshoot, was sexually abused as a child and then as an adult when she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Her path to survival has taken decades, but she is now an advocate for those who are abused.
“Through that journey of fighting back for myself and healing, that’s what I feel really enables me to bring a lot to the table,” Helm said.
If you’re wondering just how pervasive the sex trafficking and exploitation of minors are today, numbers show that out of more than 23,500 runaways reported to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children in 2018, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
The center also says that in 2020, the number of possible “online enticement” of minors was on pace for 40,000 reports. That would be more than double the yearly average (16,000) of such reports over the previous four years.
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