Shop to stop human trafficking - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Shop to stop human trafficking

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Houston is a hub when it comes to human trafficking.  It's estimated one in every five victims will be transported along the I-10 corridor.

An event is being held in Houston to help raise awareness. It's actually a craft fair.  Think: jewelry, cosmetics, apparel, books, coffee and chocolate.  And the interesting thing: everyone is a fair-trade vendor selling fair-trade products, and the event benefits the anti-trafficking movement in Houston.

Every year, 18,000 victims are brought into the US. Of those victims, 25 percent are brought to Texas, the majority coming to Houston.  There are over 200 brothels in Houston with two new ones opening every month.  

Within 48 hours, one in three runaway children are lured into sex trafficking.

"I really think it's a powerful thing to just say we're standing here, united against human trafficking," vendor Erica Raggett said.

Non-profit coffee shop owner Erica Raggett is just one of many fair-trade vendors preparing for Saturday's "Just Shop for a Just Cause" craft fair that will feature survivor-made products, speakers, and free van tours to see nearby brothels.

"It breaks my heart because it could be by daughter or my daughter's friend," event organizer, Kim Harper said.

Support for victims is something Chong Kim, 37, said didn't exist in the 90s when she was trafficked.

"It doesn't just happen to kids; it can happen to adult women," Kim said.

She was in college, majoring in law enforcement when her boyfriend turned out to be a trafficker.

"I was held as a prisoner in an abandoned home and then transported to a distributing warehouse in Nevada and from there, the traffickers would control me and other girls, 25 to 50 in each unit.  We were transported through warehouse trucks," she said.

It happened then and it's happening now, right here in Houston.

"I think they don't realize that it's in your backyard; it's in our high schools; it's a right in front of you problem," Kim said.

All money raised will go to local ministries and organizations that support trafficking awareness education and victim services.

The "Just Shop for a Just Cause" craft market will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Truth Building, across the street from the Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Don't forget if you or someone you know is a victim of trafficking, there's a national hotline you can call for help: 1-888-3737-888.

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