Of the hundreds of thousands of children estimated to be part of the sex trafficking industry across the country, there are 300 beds nationwide suitable for victims under the age of 18, according to Home of Hope President Rodney Daniels.
“The next closest [locations] from the couple in Texas are in Georgia and California for kids,” Daniels said. “It’s just nonexistent, and a few of them are shut down because of [a lack of] funding.”
A Spring-based nonprofit founded in 2008, Home of Hope recently acquired a facility north of Houston that will be able to house and care for 20 girls between ages 8 to 18 when completed, Daniels said. Planned to open sometime this summer, facility services will include housing, counseling, education, some medical and several different types of therapy.
Once the girls are ready to leave, he said Home of Hope will help them move back home or work with adoption agencies to find a home for them.
“There is no limit to how long they can stay,” he said. “We prefer them to stay a minimum of a year to get processed [and] to go through some psychological things that they need.”
Prior to starting work on the facility in 2012, Home of Hope’s primary focus was awareness. Of the 6,000 runaway children who leave home in Houston every year, Daniels said as much as 60-75 percent are approached for trafficking within 48 hours.
“[Runaway children] fall into it because these predators prey on them,” he said. “[The victims are] vulnerable because they don’t have anybody. These guys come in, befriend them and start grooming them for it.”