There are so many amazing causes in the world that people get involved with and choose to champion. At Brilliant People, one of ours is Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). I know. It’s a horrible thing to see in writing, much less know it is happening in staggeringly high numbers across the globe.

When I was young, my dad would tease me because I was forever bringing home stray cats and dogs.  I even brought home stray friends to live with us from time to time. I believe we all deserve to be loved, even those who might not fit the mold of what society deems as being “loveable.”  An old friend once called me The Defender of the Weak, and I guess that rings true.  

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become very involved with The Refuge for DMST, which is a long-term therapeutic ranch just outside the city of Austin.  The Refuge offers comprehensive services for girls ages 11 to 19 who are survivors of sex trafficking.  

When the initial conversations about the idea of The Refuge began in 2013, I inserted myself in the effort any way that I could.  I just felt called to it. Some might say it was because The Refuge is being built on property that belonged to my family — land where my dad and I spent time together clearing brush and basically having fun on the bulldozer, bushwacking through brush and enjoying nature in its purest form.  Some might say I felt compelled out of respect for the fact that my dad spent the better part of his life fighting for justice, first as a DPS trooper, then the Captain of Polygraph, and finally as a commissioned Texas Ranger when he retired from DPS. While those things are true, ultimately, I do what I do, because how can I not?

How can I not stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves? I feel compelled because, as I have tried to teach my daughters, I have a voice and my voice matters.  All it takes is one person to start a fire and ignite the passion in others so that they too will stand up for what is right.  This ideal keeps the fire burning in me and I want to encourage you to get involved, too.

It will be no small task for all involved with The Refuge to help these young survivors find restoration.  We are going to do our best to give them a chance by empowering, nurturing, motivating and encouraging the girls to rebuild their lives and help them reconnect to the world.

The The Refuge for DMST has now been open for a few years, providing an amazing space for girls to grow and become who they’re meant to be.  It’s been incredible to see the growth of the organization and the girls it serves. 

They say it takes a village. Come be part of ours.

The Refuge for DMST

Staggering Statistics:   

  • Child sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in America.
  • In the U.S. there was an 846% increase in reported child sex trafficking cases from 2010 to 2015.
  • There are currently 79,000 young adults and minors being sex trafficked in Texas.
  • Texas has the second most reported number of child sex trafficking cases in the U.S.
  • There are less than 600 beds available nationwide for child sex trafficking survivors, but we have over 13,000 animal shelters.
  • Prior to the opening of The Refuge Ranch, Texas only had 24 beds available for child survivors’ long term recovery from trauma.
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