human trafficking

Human Trafficking EXPO in Denton County

"Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts, or simply put, trafficking is modern-day slavery."


January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and in support of this effort, the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition (DCHTC) is hosting an EXPO! Anyone who is interested in learning more about human trafficking prevention is invited to join us this Saturday, January 14, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at Serve Denton.

The main purpose of the event is to bring together agencies, organizations and ministries under one roof to spread awareness about trafficking and domestic/child abuse.

There will be two speakers from Homeland Security Investigations as well as people attending from Cooks Children's Medical Center and the local school districts. Nationally-recognized speaker, Ashleigh Chapman, founder of the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration and Justice, Inc. and the Engage Together Initiative will be the keynote speaker. More than twenty community organizations will be present, and you can come alongside these agencies to help end human exploitation in Denton County.

Did you know that Texas is at the heart of human trafficking in the United States?

Texas has the second highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Resources Center in the nation. You know what's even more heartbreaking? The North Texas area is second in the nation for the number of trafficking victims reported. These statistics are the reason over fifteen organizations joined together to create the DCHTC and why this EXPO is taking place.

This Tuesday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m., Mayor Chris Watts will proclaim Saturday, January 14, 2017, Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the City of Denton. The coalition would like to invite you to attend this proclamation to stand before the council as this proclamation is being read.

DCHTC Chair Carrie Powell says, "This is a huge step for our fight to eradicate trafficking in our county."

Serve Denton, 5 Star Rental, Legacy Church-Argyle and Denton Jazzercise are coming alongside the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition to sponsor this event. For more information about the coalition, contact DCHTC Chair Carrie Powell at or like the DCHTC Facebook Page by clicking HERE.


Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition EXPO

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Time: 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Place: Serve Denton, 1980 E. University Dr., Denton, TX 76209
Price: FREE


If you would like to sign up to attend the event, click the button below. You can be a part of the first community event in Denton County that is helping fight against human trafficking!

Does Human Trafficking Happen in Denton?

Human Trafficking in Denton

When you think of human trafficking, you probably think of a few different things. The first could be history—you know that the buying and selling of humans has happened since—well, since always.

But you may not think it happens so much now, and where you believe it does happen is influenced by the second thing that comes to mind when you think of trafficking: Hollywood.

Movies like Taken brought a very specific, problematic kind of trafficking to light, which focuses most Americans’ attention to trafficking overseas. What you’re unlikely to think of is North Texas. You’re unlikely to think of people living in places like Southlake and Denton being trafficked, but the reality is this: it does happen here, and it happens often.

Vision Gets Involved

That’s why Vision Ministries has decided to host Human Trafficking 101: Our Children at Risk. We sat down with Carrie Powell, Women’s Coordinator at Vision Ministries, to talk about this community awareness event to understand more about what folks in Denton can get out of attending this seminar series.

What’s important to know, first and foremost, is Vision Ministries is not an organization that combats human trafficking directly. Vision Ministries is an outreach of Denton Bible Church that helps people get on their feet and get connected to the church and a faith community through programming and providing food, clothing, and other essentials.

As Carrie puts it, Vision is a “comfortable place” that the community relies on. They serve a diverse group of clientele and work with a faithful core of volunteers. They are eyes in the community, and what they see is a growing human trafficking problem.

Responding to a Crisis

In response to this, they’ve decided to jump into the fight against human trafficking. One way is through participation in the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition, hosted and facilitated by Serve Denton. The coalition is a space where agencies that serve possible victims of human trafficking can come together to learn more about the issue and work collaboratively to stop trafficking in Denton County and surrounding areas.

Human Trafficking 101 is one of the efforts being made collaboratively to educate the community about what’s going on in Denton County. Over the course of four sessions, different agencies in North Texas that combat human trafficking in a variety of ways will present the community at large with information about how to recognize and report human trafficking as well as how to get involved as volunteers.

Carrie says they decided to hold the event because Vision is committed to taking ownership of Denton’s problems. “I’ve lived in Denton for 20 years. I feel like this is my town,” she says. According to her, initiatives like Human Trafficking 101 create the kind of awareness that “takes idleness and turns it into action.”

Taking Action

And there is a lot of action to be taken. North Texas is home to a growing number of agencies related to human trafficking and are always in search of new volunteers for a wide variety of needs; anything from writing to women who live in shelters to renovating group homes to participating on intel teams that use social media to find potential trafficking victims and perpetrators.

Human Trafficking 101 will take place over the course of four nights from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Denton Bible Church, located at 2300 E. University Drive Denton, TX:

• September 8 - Traffick911 • September 15 - 4the ONE • September 22 - Poiema Foundation • September 29 - Refuge for Women

To learn more about the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition, please email Katelynn Blasavage at

Anyone is Susceptible to Trafficking

Refuge for Women hosted their Impact Gathering on Thursday, March 3 where experts addressed the challenges we face in North Texas regarding those exploited in the sex industry. Ked Frank, founder and president of the National Refuge for Women located in Kentucky, started off by speaking about the future of the organization. He spoke about the 12-month program women go through to begin the healing process in order to become re-integrated into society.

There are plans to open a safe house in Denton, TX in the next 12 months, and there is a big push to raise funds for it. It will take approximately $300,000 to support the women they plan on taking in for one year.

Refuge for Women is holding a celebration dinner on Saturday, April 23 to focus on raising funds to support this safe house. They will have 30 tables; each table costing $500 and seating 10 people.

Jessica Neely, a survivor of sex trafficking, also spoke. She talked about her experience of getting in and out of the sex industry – What a moving speech. Jessica and Ked discussed what the sex industry looks like in modern day America, and how that differs from what most people assume it looks like.

.Modern-day technology has phased out the need for women to stand on street corners to enter the trafficking industry. Jessica came from a wonderful family with loving parents and was extremely involved in her home church. A random act of events is what led her to become involved in the industry.

This is why it is important to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking, and how anyone is susceptible to it.

For more information about Refuge for Women, please contact Lynnie Anderson, North Texas City Director of Refuge for Women, at:

Let’s Eliminate the Human Trafficking Industry

The average age of a girl entering the sex industry is 12 years old. Human trafficking is a 97 billion dollar a year industry. One third of runaways are picked up by a pimp within 48 hours. This is all because of sexual exploitation. Refuge for Women is a three-phase rescue organization that focuses on healing, job preparation and employment. Sexually exploited women need the tools to become self-sufficient. Upon receiving after-care healing, like Refuge for Women provides, 94 percent of these women do NOT reenter the sex industry!

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 12.12.24 PMThe directors of Refuge for Women North Texas, Lynnie and Jay Anderson, became involved with Refuge for Women Kentucky in 2011 after attending a meeting at their country church. In response to the meeting, Lynnie said, “Our hearts were touched by the testimonies we heard and the need for support.” They had no idea there was a trafficking problem in the U.S., much less a need for an after-care healing home for sexually exploited women. Their hearts were hooked to help.

Refuge for Women Kentucky was gifted a second home, and they needed help with renovations. Lynnie and Jay had built three homes together and accomplished several renovations, so the two were excited to offer their support. “What an amazing transformation it was to see that old Kentucky farm house brought back to life,” Lynnie said. While the building was being dramatically transformed, they knew it wouldn’t stop there; people’s lives would soon be radically changed as well.

The two decided to move to Texas in 2013 to be closer to their two children, but they were sad to leave the chapter in their life associated with Refuge for Women.

While in Texas, Lynnie saw a Facebook post from Ked Frank, the founder of Refuge for Women. He would be in the Dallas area meeting with some front-line ministries that send women to Refuge for Women Kentucky for healing. Lynnie felt she should reach out to him, but didn’t know where it would lead; she just knew the program worked.

Lynnie and Jay asked Ked to give a short presentation about the ministry, and they gathered a group of 14 men and women to listen. Lynnie recounts, “That amazing group of people agreed to come back the following Tuesday and pray about where this all would lead us. That group has committed to become what is now the seventh location for Refuge for Women across the nation.”

While living in Texas, they have uncovered some heartbreaking statistics. Texas is the number two state in the nation with the most human trafficking, and sex slavery is a $99 million per year industry in DFW alone. They have found several awareness and front-line ministries here in Texas, but very few aftercare-healing homes for these women.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 4.34.06 PMThat is where Refuge for Women steps in. They have the program ready to roll out. They just need a safe haven, a home, for these women to experience healing so they can become self-sufficient again. Their ideal location is in the country so the women can have safety, solitude and serenity for this phase of their life.

How can you help? Join the team at Refuge for Women North Texas by volunteering your time or financially contributing to their cause. Your support helps sexually exploited women escape the sex industry and experience healing.

They invite you to join them at their open meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at Serve Denton. Lynnie said, “I often think back to that day in 2011 when we heard about Refuge for Women for the first time and I ask, “How can we help, and what do we have to offer?” Then I remind myself of the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the people He calls”.

For more information, please email Lynnie Anderson at