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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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North Texas Nonprofit Works to Protect Children From Trafficking

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New Friends New Life | Image by New Friends New Life / Facebook

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A Dallas-based nonprofit called New Friends New Life is working to empower and help victims of human trafficking. The group’s CEO, Bianca Davis, spoke to NBC 5 on April 22 about the hard work the organization is doing.

Davis conveyed that preventing human trafficking requires a proactive component; people need to be educated before they potentially encounter a trafficker.

“By the time she meets him, it’s just too late. It could be at the American Airlines Center. It could be the mall. It could be a restaurant or even a school,” she said. “By the time she meets him, it’s almost too late. How do we every day have this conversation and help these young people understand? That’s what we have to work on.”

Davis pointed to the recent human trafficking case in Dallas involving a 15-year-old girl. In early April, she left the American Airlines Center with two men and was found 10 days later in Oklahoma City.

Davis told NBC that trafficking is a cycle, and it takes help to break that cycle.

“It’s happening everywhere,” Davis said. “This doesn’t look like we once thought. It’s getting more sophisticated now. These men are even using older women to bait these young girls. Make them feel safe when they are already vulnerable and then force them into this life.”

Matt Osborne, the men’s advocacy liaison for New Friends New Life, said stopping human trafficking is something that can start at home.

The first step is having honest conversations with children about what they are up to, according to Osborne. He said parents should be asking their kids about the people they are talking to, both online and in person.

“Parents may think it’s invasive, but you could save your child’s life,” Osborne told NBC. “No one is choosing this lifestyle. But once these people, these bad actors, get hold of these young people, it’s very hard to stop what happens next.”

Davis also shared with NBC the twenty-one major apps that New Friends New Life warns parents could be dangerous. These apps include Snapchat, Discord, TikTok, and Kik.

“I’m not saying these are bad apps, but I am saying that bad people are using them to prey on children and to groom them to eventually be trafficked,” Davis explained. “[The] meetup in person can start as a simple hello on an app.”

Part of the work Osborne does includes free bus tours in Dallas that show people areas where human trafficking is currently happening.

He told NBC, “We aren’t going to the higher crime areas of Dallas. We are going to very nice areas. Nice hotels and residences. We are going to office parks and such where trafficking has happened in the past as a way to show that this is happening everywhere.”

According to NBC, Texas is currently ranked number two in cases of human trafficking. Around 400 young girls are trafficked in Dallas every night. Across the entire country, approximately 100,000 children are victims of trafficking each year.

New Friends New Life provides several resources for combating this issue, including financial assistance, education, mental health support, and job training.

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