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New Life Refuge Ministries provides lessons in preventing human trafficking

Posted at 10:16 PM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 23:16:13-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A summer film has sparked a conversation among people in the Coastal Bend.

That film is the reason two seminars were held at the property known as the "Castle House" on the corner of Ocean Drive and Doddridge Street.

The Sound of Freedom is a film that revolves around the issue of child sex trafficking.

Tina Canary, operations manager of New Life Refuge Ministries said many people called asking questions after seeing the film.

“Oh my goodness, we had quite a few eye opening experiences for people who had not understood that it happens in this neighborhood, it happens in the neighborhood right next door, it happens in the other neighborhood,” Canary said.

New Life Refuge Ministries hosted the seminars to teach people about human trafficking in Corpus Christi, how to spot it and what to do about it.

New Life Refuge Ministries has a mission of helping victims of sex trafficking heal and get back to their lives. Another part of their mission is to educate people about this crime.

It comes as a surprise when Canary tells people human trafficking is in issue everywhere, including Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend.

“From some younger boys to teenagers and in the coastal bend area. Part of it would be familial trafficking. Another would be tricked by the romeo entourage, so they get connected online," Canary said.

To help identify human trafficking, Canary said there are two phases to look out for.

The grooming phase is the first.

“It could be a new shiny bag, phone, game console. Something that you know that person, and you know our lane is children, so you have a teenager that is not able to buy these things for themselves yet they keep showing up,” she said.

She also said to watch if children have a change in attitude or their wardrobe changes.

Canary added traffickers may prey on people's want to be loved. It's especially used on children.

"If your child has a smart phone, they need to have an entire lesson on being a safe user of the internet. Then, they also need to know what a safe adult is," Canary said.

The second phase to watch for is the trafficking phase.

“If you’re on vacation and you see a hotel room. And, you see do not disturb but you saw a child there and the doors open and close then, you know. Take it to the front desk.”

Canary said if you see an emergency or identify an emergency, you should call 911.

If someone suspects some sort of human trafficking is going on, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to ask more questions before reporting anything to law enforcement. That number is 1-888-373-7888.

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