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Local Film Director Fights Against Sex Trafficking

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Official logo of nonprofit SHARE. | Image from Jaco Booyens Ministries

When Jaco Booyens lived in South Africa as a child, his younger sister, Ilonka, was trafficked for six years. After she was rescued, his family relocated to Dallas. Booyens has been fighting pedophiles and traffickers ever since.

“I understand how trafficking operates,” Booyens told Dallas Express. “Satan is not very creative, nor is evil. They use the same methods over and over.”

Booyens, a devout Christian, lectures around the world about sex trafficking and directed a 2014 feature film called ‘8 Days’ about a 16-year-old who disappears into the sex trade industry after sneaking to a party.

These days, Booyens’s sister is leading a normal life despite the horrific experience of being trafficked.

As previously reported, it was a talent manager who had become a trusted family friend who raped and trafficked Ilonka when she was just 12 years old.

“She’s doing very well now but she’s an anomaly,” Booyens said in an interview. “She’s a mother of three, which doesn’t happen often with survivors, and she’s in the fight herself. She runs an organization that focuses on trauma therapy. She helps survivors.”

Human trafficking is illegal in Texas and establishes the crime as a second-degree felony with a sentence of 2 to 20 years of imprisonment. If the persons trafficked or transported are under the age of 14, or if the commission of the offense results in death, the offense is a first-degree felony with a sentence of 5 to 99 years imprisonment.

“There’s about 25 forms of trafficking but the way a predator will traffic someone does not change because you’re dealing with human behavioral science and how a child responds to love, affection, attention, needs, desires, and fear and those things don’t change,” Booyens said.

In 2012, Booyens founded SHARE, a 501(c)3 organization, to support his efforts and those of others.

“We bring awareness to what sex trafficking is,” Booyens said in an interview. “We educate the market whether it’s politicians, law enforcement, parents, or students. As an organization, we go into schools and to Congress. We write legislation, we educate, and then we bring solutions on how to stop it. We actually go in and show what the drivers are in our society.”

Human trafficking is considered the fastest growing underground industry, generating $32 billion a year, according to the Center for Public Policy Studies. At 79,000 cases, Texas has the second most reported number of child sex trafficking incidents in the U.S., and Dallas has the most cases statewide followed by Houston, according to Booyens.

“Every single human is a sexual being,” he said. “That’s why the contortion of sex and mixing that with children is so inflammatory. When we start having very, very evil sex-ed curriculums in schools where they’re normalizing even just a conversation of sex between a seven-year-old and an adult in the classroom, it’s not right. You’ve now desensitized the child and lowered the barrier to entry for predators.”

SHARE recently launched a new program targeting nurses in hospitals.

“We train them on how to identify a trafficking victim in the Emergency Room because sex trafficking victims come through the ER daily,” Booyens added.

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