Team 5: Update from Ukraine Response

Written by Jessica Sykora, Unbound Now Director of Development Almost 13 million people are believed to have fled their homes in Ukraine since the conflict began, according to the United Nations, making this situation the fastest and largest mass migration of people since WWII.  This is the fact that motivated me as I flew with […]

Team 4: Update from Ukraine Response

Written by team member George Young I want to share some of what I have learned about the Ukraine refugee crisis so far, and how Poland has stepped up in a huge and heroic way. With the sudden influx of refugees from Ukraine flowing into Poland (3-4 million), many humanitarian organizations and the Polish government […]

Team 3: Update from Ukrainian Response

Shared by Amanda Buenger, Executive Director of Unbound Bryan College Station I am still processing all that our team experienced on our recent trip to the Poland/Ukraine border. Before leaving, I had a few expectations of what we might experience in a war torn crisis situation, but upon arrival, I was continually blown away by […]

Team 1: Update from Ukraine Response

I’m writing to update you on the results from Team 1’s initial “scouting” trip to the Poland/Ukraine border. The Unbound team spent 5 days assessing the need and connecting with the local and international partners we will be serving. I had the privilege to be there, and I am excited to share with you how […]

Running to the crisis: Unbound’s response for ukraine

It is no surprise that exploitation increases exponentially when natural disasters or wars occur. Right now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is sending millions of people running to the borders.  Most of these are women and children, as Ukrainian men stay and fight.  These unprotected people are in extreme danger of exploitation. One of the […]

Human Trafficking 101: Traffickers & Buyers

Human trafficking is a business of supply and demand. In this video, you’ll learn who is driving the demand, who is guilty of human trafficking, and what you can do to be part of the solution.

Human Trafficking 101: Victims and Survivors

Individuals who experience trafficking victimization come from all different walks of life and their experiences differ greatly. But there are some common themes we can learn from, as well as signs we can all look for to help people get free. In this short video, you’ll learn more about the red flags of trafficking, how […]

Human Trafficking 101: Risk Factors & Traffickers’ Tactics

Traffickers identify and target the unmet needs and desires of victims. By learning about risk factors, we’re better equipped to identify the tactics of traffickers to keep ourselves and others safe. In this short video provided for you by Unbound, you’ll learn who is at risk for human trafficking, how this crime impacts boys, how […]

Human Trafficking 101: AMP Model

Do you think you understand the basics of human trafficking in the United States? You might be surprised what actions count as trafficking crimes, according to federal law. In this 6-minute video brought to you by Unbound, you’ll learn that the crime of human trafficking can be defined through Actions, Means and Purposes (the AMP […]

Fact Sheets: Sex Trafficking of Black Women & Girls in the U.S.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation put out a series of fact sheets demonstrating the disproportionate impact of trafficking on black women and girls. Click the button below to view the fact sheets. Here’s an excerpt:

“To better understand the high rates of sex trafficking among Black women and girls, research has indicated the continued sexualization of Black women and girls’ bodies which has played out since slavery. The myths around Black women and girls’ hypersexuality cannot be ignored when researching sex trafficking.

Do assembly-style presentations make a difference?

“Almost one out of five central Texas high school students are either approached by a trafficker or are trafficked. Raising awareness can also validate someone’s experience or prompt them to seek help they did not know was available.” This quote comes from a research article published in the Journal of Human Trafficking in December 2020. […]

Pornography & Sex Trafficking

When considering what perpetuates sex trafficking, the more obvious factors include poverty, political instability, and gender inequalities. What most people often don’t recognize as a major contributor to sex trafficking, however, is pornography. It’s a hidden factor that people don’t want to talk about. Human trafficking remains a “wicked” problem because it is inextricably bound to a plethora of other issues, including market demand in the commercial sex industry. The normalization of pornography in the 21st century increases demand, and increased demand ensures that supply will continue. If supply is to decrease, demand must decrease.

Fast Fashion & Labor Trafficking

When people hear the words “human trafficking,” most think of sexual exploitation as opposed to labor exploitation. However, forced labor accounts for an estimated 81% of total human trafficking cases (Human Rights First). One contributor to “forced labor” is fast fashion, which is defined as cheap, trendy clothing that transitions directly from the catwalk or celebrity culture to retail stores for consumer purchasing (Good on You). Its purpose is to get the newest styles on the market as quickly as possible so consumers will purchase them at the height of popularity (Good on You).

Creating a Program: JVUB Houston

In every community, individuals and families experience vulnerabilities to human trafficking. Poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, broken families, low self-esteem, isolation, developmental delays and unsafe social media exposure are life experiences that place an individual at a higher risk of exploitation. However, no man is an island. Each lived experience becomes woven into the fabric of a community, a group of people whose lives intersect. Our collective societal experience shifts in the wake of the ripple of events in individual stories. In our efforts to reach out and lend support to the one who has suffered exploitation, we believe strength lies in leveraging the power and significance of community.

Unbound’s goal is to empower individuals in their unique roles with the knowledge, insight and tools needed to combat trafficking in their own sphere of influence. As we equip groups of individuals, entire communities begin to stand at the ready to guard their vulnerable and help their wounded. It’s a beautiful process and one that continually inspires hope for the future.

Since our conception in 2013, Unbound Houston has served the Greater Houston Area, looking to inspire hope and spark change. We serve to educate our community on human trafficking as it happens right here at home and help them see how they can play an invaluable role in seeing this injustice meet its end. Along the way, we’ve created multiple programs to bolster our community and begin to turn the tides to bring light to a subject that for too long thrived in the dark. JVUB, our program for girls on probation, is a program dear to our heart, yielding countless impactful moments, heartbreaking stories and encouraging testimonies. Thanks to our faithful team of volunteers implementing this program over the last four years, we have built trust and rapport in our community, allowing us to increase our service and collaborate with our partners.

Junior Varsity Unbound

What if one encounter, one impact, could change a life? What if one exhale was the last gust of wind someone needed to fill their sails? What would happen if we pursued these encounters and seized every opportunity we saw to offer up a word, a breath, a smile? Could we change the world? We wanted to find out.

Studies have shown that youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are at a greater risk of exploitation. In our commitment to supporting at risk youth in an effort to prevent trafficking and exploitation, Unbound Houston developed a curriculum that allowed us to intersect with this precious and vulnerable population. Once a month, our team of trained volunteers visits girls at our local juvenile justice center and hosts Junior Varsity Unbound (JVUB).

Testimony: Unbound Mongolia

Did you know Unbound has an office in Mongolia? In this testimony, a staff member shares how he broke his addiction to pornography after learning about the connection between pornography and sex trafficking.

My name is M. Here is my story about how I became a fighter against pornography after struggling with an addiction for multiple years.

My pornography addiction began when I was in 8th grade. By that time, we used to have many gaming places in my city called internet cafes where we could play and use the internet for different purposes. Meanwhile, only a few families used to have the internet at their homes.

One day, my classmates and I went to an internet café in order to play a game together. We gathered our money and paid for the VIP room, where there were multiple computers and we could lock the door if we wanted. While we were playing a game, one of our friends was watching pornography on his screen. I glanced at his screen once and continued to play. Soon after, he started to give us links where we could watch same video. That is how I began watching pornography as a child. From then on, my friends and I watched porn when we hung out, causing some of us to be more focused on porn instead of the game we were playing.

The Truth About Trafficking: Jesus Said Love Podcast

The Truth About Trafficking What does sex trafficking actually look like? Who are the buyers? What can I do to fight it? In this episode of Jesus Said Love’s podcast, Unbound Waco’s Jessica Sykora and McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Joseph Scaramucci discuss these questions and more. *Listener discretion advised: Discussion of elements of sex […]

Unbound’s Underground: A Drop-In Center for Youth

A 2012 study* by WestCoast Children’s Clinic showed that 75 percent of trafficked youth were exploited for two or more years before being recovered or identified as a victim. 50 percent of these youth were age 14 or under when the exploitation started. 75 percent do not view themselves as victims.

If we wait for these vulnerable youth to ask for help, they may never receive the services they deserve. We must take action now to intervene earlier in the process, and to prevent this from happening in the first place.

That’s why Unbound is opening The Underground, a drop-in center for trafficked and exploited youth, which will be the first of its kind in Tarrant County, Texas.

When your mom doesn’t want you anymore…

Many children are made more vulnerable to exploitation or trafficking as a result of feelings of inadequacy or rejection from their families. Unbound’s Youth Prevention Program provides a unique opportunity to connect with children in a way that helps them feel safe to share their feelings and seek assistance.

As the Director of Youth Prevention, one of my favorite things to do is facilitate a 5-week series to empower students with an in-depth understanding of human trafficking. I am a licensed facilitator for both Love146’s Not a #Number curriculum and the iEmpathize Empower Youth Program. Spending 5 weeks with the students gives me a chance to get to know them, build trust, and create space for them to share their vulnerabilities and learn how to overcome them.

I am continually amazed at how students will open up and share their deepest fears and pains.

When a Child’s Heart is Compelled to Make Grown-up Choices

The two classes I had just taught at the high school went great. The students were engaged and asked many relevant questions. As a facilitator, I felt our Keeping Students Safe curriculum on Human Trafficking was being well received by the students, and they were understanding the core concepts regarding students who had been trafficked.

But the 3rd period class taught me a lesson I will never forget…