Roughly 200 people attended a Frisco church on Sunday night for an anti-child trafficking workshop that included speeches by community leaders from around the metroplex.
The “Not One More Victim” event, hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Frisco, began at 7:30 p.m. and was attended by the church’s high school youth group, their parents, and other community members.
Anti-trafficking organizations and representatives from law enforcement agencies spoke about the dangers of the internet and some of the steps parents and students can take to help prevent trafficking.
The church wrote on its website that the goal of the event was to inform families and members of the community about “the dangers posed by those who would traffic humans.”
“We can all do our part to raise awareness and help stop this $150 billion industry,” the church wrote.
A representative from the FBI Citizens Academy addressed the audience, explaining that children now live in a “global neighborhood” that is a “fertile hunting ground” for child predators.
Although Sen. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) could not make the event due to the current special legislative session in Austin, a representative from his office was present to relay the lawmaker’s concern about the growing crisis.
Parents then went into breakout sessions hosted by the participating organizations while students spent time talking in small groups about how they could help prevent trafficking.
Members of UNE spoke with attendees about how to raise awareness about the issue and convey the severity of the risk to children. Similarly, the breakout session hosted by the FBI Citizens Academy took a deep dive into the risks of social media and internet activity in relation to child trafficking. Finally, those who attended the PACT breakout session heard about a student training program that teaches kids how to spot and stop child trafficking.
James Frederickson, co-founder of Thistle Creek Reserve Coffee Co., spoke with The Dallas Express at the event. He said his company partnered with PACT to raise awareness about the child trafficking crisis and “how we can stop it all together.”
Frederickson said that anyone with questions or an interest in getting involved should reach out to PACT about how they can help, adding that any donations to the group help it put on presentations like the one Sunday evening.
“Putting the courses together, so on and so forth, costs money,” Frederickson told The Dallas Express. “So the everyday person can jump on. I think PACT is actually starting a program soon that is $13 a month.”
PACT, according to Frederickson, established the $13 monthly donation tier because the average minor who gets trafficked in North America is about 13 years old.
The workshop ended with a question-and-answer session in which parents and students could ask questions about how to get involved and prevent trafficking cases from occurring.
Texas had the second-highest number of trafficking cases in 2021 of any U.S. state, with 1,702 documented trafficking victims.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas saw a significant year-over-year spike in sex trafficking specifically within the city limits, with offenses jumping from 33 to 44 as of November 3. The median age of victims in Dallas this year is currently 17. The youngest victim was 11.
According to Htcourts.org, which maintains information on human trafficking shelters and anti-trafficking organizations, “[t]he Dallas-Fort Worth region accounts for 35% of the state’s commercial sexual exploitation cases even though they only have 26% of the state’s entire population.”