When Redeemed Ministries was founded in 2005, the Spring-based nonprofit was focused on providing international outreach for sex trafficking victims.
“They discovered what they were seeing overseas was happening right here in Houston, so there was really no need to go overseas,” Redeemed Ministries Executive Director Dennis Mark said.
The nonprofit opened a four-bed treatment facility for adult sex trafficking victims in Montgomery County in October 2010, which moved to Brazos County about three years ago. The facility has stayed near capacity the last few years, said Director of Survivor Care Bobbie Mark, Dennis Mark’s wife.
Bobbie said the nonprofit’s treatment provides holistic healing in four areas of health: physical, emotional, relational and spiritual.
“It’s a balance between maintaining a schedule while having a kind of a home atmosphere because we don’t want them to feel like they’re in a facility,” Bobbie said.
Redeemed Ministries asks each victim for at least a one-year commitment with the final three or four months focused on helping participants integrate back into society. The nonprofit helps participants set up credit and checking accounts and get apartments, jobs and scholarships.
The Marks, who joined Redeemed Ministries in 2006, said the nonprofit is working on building a 12-bed safehouse at the same site as the Brazos County facility. The organization has raised $100,000 of the $600,000 required for the larger safehouse.
In addition, the nonprofit has nearly completed work on a 30-day assessment center in Spring that will allow the nonprofit to assess the needs of victims picked up by law enforcement.
Bobbie said the only short-term housing for sex trafficking victims picked up by law enforcement is jail because law enforcement does not have locations to house them. She said there are only about 400 beds for sex trafficking victims in the country as most victims will not qualify for domestic violence shelters.
Redeemed Ministries is remodeling the Spring facility and about to start hiring staff. Dennis said they are scheduled for a June 1 opening date.
“This assessment center is going to be huge for Houston,” Bobbie said. “It’s going to give law enforcement a tool that they’ve needed for a very long time, and they’re super excited.”