Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Trade in Hope in Austin, Texas

. . . Trafficking of persons is one of the largest criminal industries
existing today. . . Texas is a hub for international human trafficking
. . . Texas is also a hotspot for domestic human trafficking. . . .

Texas ranks second in the list of "Top 10 States" from which reports of human trafficking are phoned into the hotline of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Of 19,427 calls the NHTRC received in 2011, 13.96 percent came from Texas (California, at 15.76, leads), according to the center's annual report "Increasing Awareness and Engagement: Strengthening the National Response to Human Trafficking in the U.S." In the single quarter July 1, 2012, to September 30, 2012, of 5,183 calls received from around the U.S., 476 came from Texas, 35 from the city of Austin, making that location third (behind Houston with 137 calls and Dallas with 67) in the state for most calls, according to the center's Texas State Report.

Human trafficking, whether involving forced labor or services or sexual exploitation, affects women and men, adults and children, foreign nationals and American citizens, other nations and our own United States. It exists in my community and your own.

Austin, Texas's fourth largest city, has set itself the task of becoming a "slave-free city", according to John Nehme, director of outreach at the nonprofit community-based organization Trade in Hope. To that end, he has become the producer of a feature-length documentary, Trade in Hope, written and directed by his sister Michelle Nehme. Told in the voice of the survivor, the 90-minute film about domestic human trafficking shares stories of the enslavement, escape, and healing of American children who have been sold for sex. Combining more traditional documentary footage with narrative storytelling, the documentary is intended to help audiences gain a comprehensive understanding of the film's difficult subject matter and to empower viewers to become part of a lasting solution.

Here's the brief trailer for the film:

Our fight against human trafficking is one
of the great human rights causes of our time. . . .
~ President Barack Obama

A single blog post cannot begin to address the enormous and difficult issue of human trafficking but I hope you'll watch the teaser, look for a screening of the documentary when it's released (plans are to wrap up production this year), review the resources below, discuss the subject in your community, schools, and churches, and then add your voice to those in Austin and elsewhere around the United States and in the international community to bring an end to this heinous and criminal activity. 


Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Harvard's CARR Center for Human Rights Policy

Restore Communities' Central Texas Branch of Allies Against Slavery

White House Initiatives to End Human Trafficking

Trade in Hope on FaceBook and Twitter

1 comment:

Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Very important post. Thanks for this. I'm going to forward this to my daughter, who has a strong interest in producing this type of documentary.