ETX organization provides 'Refuge' for sex trafficking victims - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX organization provides 'Refuge' for sex trafficking victims

The East Texas organization Refuge of Light helps young people who are victims of modern day slavery, or sex trafficking.

Refuge of Light currently works with young men and women in detention centers throughout East Texas, but they're trying to take their ministry to the next level by building a safe house in East Texas for young women to have a place to go to recover and heal after they are rescued from sex trafficking.

"There's such a need within the United States. There's between 100,000 and 300,000 kids that are at risk for this type of criminal activity," said Missy Zivney, Assistant Director of Refuge of Light.

"These kids go unidentified. They're the invisible children," said Refuge of Light's Executive Director Norma Mullican. "And that's what we're trying to do right now is to raise awareness so that people will start seeing, noticing the red flags, because they're there."

Mullican said those red flags include tattoos and inappropriate dress -- things that oftentimes go unnoticed.

"We worked with a little over 250 kids last year through the detention centers and other programs, and that's been a huge part of what we do is getting out there. Since the kids aren't being identified, we, Refuge of Light, have to be out there with those kids because we know what the signs are," she said.

Refuge of Light's current goal is to raise money to build a safe house for local girls who are victims of sex trafficking.

"They need specialized therapy, they need the counseling, they need mentors in their lives that are not going to give up on them. A lot of these children come from a home life where there isn't a mom or a dad that's even on the scene. Many of them come through foster care, and so it's just a revolving door for these kids," Zivney said.

The directors say Refuge of Light's current work in local detention centers and their eventual work in the safe house is for just one reason.

"Outside of the girls that they'll be there with, we want them to know that there are people out there that love them and care for them and want to minister to them," Zivney said.

Refuge of Light plans to hold regular fundraisers this year, but they are also selling free-trade items to help other victims of sex trafficking earn a living.

If you'd like to help financially or learn how you can volunteer, just head over to Refuge of Light's website, http://refugeoflight.org/, to learn more.

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