DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — CEO of Ranch Hands Rescue Counseling Center and Animal Sanctuary Bob Williams announced plans to open a long-term safe house exclusively catering to male victims of sex trafficking 18-24 years old.
He says it's the first of its kind in the country.
"If we don't provide shelter for victims of sex trafficking, their abusers are extremely likely to find them and bring them back into the trade," Williams said. "No person should be subjected to such a monstrous situation, but trafficked boys in particular are being overlooked; we're going to change that, now."
Williams plans to modify the organizations existing headquarters with renovations once permitting and funding is finalized. He wants to open the safe house by January 2021.
The U.S. Department of State reports 300,000 American children are lured into the global sex trade each year. Previous estimates believed boys to make up only 10% of these victims, but new data suggests that it is closer to 50%, which means up to 150,000 boys each year, according to a news release.
Ranch Hands Rescue has two animal sanctuaries housing more than 50 farm animals. Most were reclaimed from law enforcement, found in neglectful or abusive situations pushing them to the verge of euthanasia, and all with severe medical issues. The counseling center focuses on the 1-8% of trauma victims that don't respond well in traditional counseling. That includes veterans with PTSD, sexually abused children and adults, and sex trafficking victims.
"Once a person stops responding to traditional counseling, he or she is susceptible to developing self-destructive behaviors, such as eating disorders, physical mutilation, drug and alcohol addiction, or suicidal tendencies, just to name a few," said Williams. "Our Equine and Animal Assisted Counseling approach gives emotionally tortured people the chance to reach the roots of trauma with the help of a rehabilitated animal by their side. This safe house will give hope to even more people who have been living through highly destructive cycles of abuse and slavery."
Licensed Professional Counselors take clients out to the animal sanctuary for time with horses, llamas, goats, sheep, and a mélange of other farm residents, where they can connect with a quiet companion who knows the depth of their pain.
With an unaccounted number of sex traffickers taking advantage of the un-tolled I-10 and I-35 corridors of Texas and the Mexican border, safe houses for victims are needed across Texas and the U.S.
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