Panel Talks Women’s Safety Amid Crime Spike


Photo of the event | Image by Kevin Limiti/The Dallas Express

A panel discussion Wednesday examined human trafficking and other safety issues women face in Dallas.

The meeting, called Women U-Night, hosted annually by 24HourDallas, was held at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff and was attended by Council Members Jaynie Schultz of District 11 and Cara Mendelsohn of District 12.

Shultz said to the crowd of approximately 50 people that she was there to show “the City of Dallas’ commitment to women’s safety.”

Mendelsohn read out Mayor Eric Johnson’s proclamation on women’s safety and afterward spoke about how important it was for women to be able to do things at night safely, including working and dining out.

“We should not have to think about that, but the numbers say we should,” Mendelsohn said.

Much of the discussion centered around the dangers of human trafficking as panelists and speakers recounted personal experiences, with counselors on hand to provide support.

The panel was moderated by Averie Bishop, Miss Texas 2022, and consisted of a diverse group of organizations represented in the discussion.

Bianca Davis, CEO of New Friends New Life, said it was important that parents pay attention to what their children were doing online in order to protect them from trafficking.

“Social media has been such a feeding ground for the grooming process to take place,” Davis said. “When the pandemic happened, grooming increased 40%.”

She related a story about a 14-year-old girl who lived in Florida and was groomed by a middle school history teacher in New York State. She said he “flew to Tampa, coerced her, coerced to come out of her parent’s home, assaulted her in a hotel, and brought her back.”

Davis said the girl had no idea what was happening.

“So you’re looking for things that are very hard to detect. How do you fortify yourself against someone that they’re communicating with online?”

She also said parents should make sure kids know that there’s nothing they can do that would make the parents turn their back on them.

“The trafficker is banking on her thinking, ‘Oh, I ran away. There’s no way I can go back now,’ or ‘I sent those photos. She’s gonna send them to the principal or to the pastor, and there’s no way I can recover from that.'”

Chad Frymire, director of public policy for Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), emphasized that human trafficking can happen to anyone.

He related a story about his sister and how she began working at strip clubs and became addicted to drugs.

“We found out that it was her husband who was forcing her into doing these things because he was not working,” Frymire said.

He said his sister died due to circumstances surrounding her trafficking. But he said his family treated her horribly.

“I was disgusted by her,” Frymire said. “We kind of shunned her, like, how could you do this, which is the exact opposite response you should have with somebody being trafficked. And so now that I understand those nuances, and happening so close to me in my life, it’s really something that drives me, and that’s why I’m so passionate about child welfare, about trafficking.”

At the end of the meeting, yellow-vested volunteers were on hand to escort people in the audience to their cars. Some of the volunteers were boxers from Mayweather Boxing + Fitness.

The situation on the ground in Dallas bears out many of the concerns voiced on Wednesday.

Reported prostitution offenses are up 255.5% year-to-date, according to data from the City of Dallas Open Data crime analytics dashboard. Eight purchasing prostitution offenses have been logged so far this year, a dramatic spike from zero at the same point in 2022.

Meanwhile, reported incidents of rape are up 37.5% year-over-year. Fondling, the second-largest category of sexual assault, has risen almost as much at 35.7%. Both of these startling increases contribute to a 5.34% year-over-year spike in overall violent crime as of March 8.

If you enjoyed this article, please support us today!

Formed in 2021, we provide fact-based, non-partisan news. The Dallas Express is a non-profit organization funded by charitable support and advertising.

Please join us on the important journey to make Dallas a better place!

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments