Modern Day Slaves

Last Friday night our YWAM Houston staff invited Dennis, the founder of a local ministry, to give us a van tour of some of the most populated prostitution/sex trafficking arenas in Houston. Dennis was able to provide us with fresh insight, as he and his wife are personally involved in rescuing and restoring these women through their ministry. We drove to a place called “The Track”, a narrow and unassuming road that passes by a small motel. We drove through as early as 8:00pm and there were already three or four “prostitutes” along the roadside. Even more disturbing was the steadily increasing traffic down The Track, as buyers (more commonly called ‘Johns’) drove slowly by to “view” the girls.

Dennis stated that the girls could be found along the track each and every night, increasing in number as the night wore on. These women were coming from the small motel along the road. During the day they slept in the motel, coming out as soon as darkness fell, working the track until 4:00am-5:00am. As we passed the motel, Dennis pointed out the second floor balcony and described how the girl’s pimps would often line themselves along the railing to “watch the girls work”. Most pimps alternate between violence and emotional manipulation in order to control ‘their’ women. Dennis described The Track as extremely dangerous for the girls. They fear for their lives every time they enter a new car, never knowing whether they will survive the night. Because of this, many pimps use The Track as a form of punishment for girls who are not performing well at the cantinas, strip clubs and brothels.

Although police officers were abundant throughout the neighborhood, they cannot make an arrest unless they physically see money being exchanged for sex. Even in those rare cases, it is the girl who is prosecuted for prostitution, and not the pimp who is in control.

The track was unlike anything I had ever seen before and even more heartbreaking when you realize that these girls are caught in a form of slavery that even they don’t have the vocabulary to describe or identify. Thankfully, Harris County is making a huge effort to focus their attention on arresting and sentencing the buyers (Johns) in Houston. Additional effort is also being made to distinguish prostitution from a trafficking situation in the court system.

We were excited to hear that in the beginning of June, Dennis is partnering with a church located within walking distance of The Track in order to offer breakfast to these girls. Breakfast will be served at 4:00am, as the girls are finishing for the night. A team will approach the women on Friday night with invitations to an early breakfast on Saturday morning. On Saturday, volunteers will make an effort to build relationships with these women, and potentially pimps, over breakfast.

Perhaps there is nothing in Houston as evil or heartbreaking as the sex trafficking industry. Pray for our city officials, police department, Christian ministries and churches who are working to rescue girls and eradicate this horrific business.

“The Lord looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.” Isaiah 59:16-17