Buckner International, Refuge of Light Sign Agreement to Help Sex Trafficking Victims
DALLAS–Buckner International and Refuge of Light signed a three-year agreement Feb. 8 to work jointly serving female minors identified as victims of sex trafficking.
Refuge of Light, based in Tyler, Texas, hopes to start construction for the safe-home early in 2013 to serve girls 17 years and under. Buckner will oversee the operations and provide staff members to work with Refuge of Light. Buckner staff will also assist in case management and therapy.
Refuge of Light, which formed in 2010, is dedicated to establishing a long-term safe home that provides physical, mental and spiritual healing in an effort to overcome the brutalization of modern day slavery, or sex trafficking, in the lives of victimized girls in the United States.
“The beauty of this agreement is that it allows both ministries to work together to fulfill the core values of our separate missions,” said Felipe Garza, vice president for expansion and development for Buckner. “We are committed to being the presence of Christ for the most vulnerable in our world and no person is more vulnerable than a young female who is victimized by the sex trade.”
According to officials at Refuge of Light, human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world. Human trafficking or slavery generates $32 billion annually worldwide. Statistics show that within the United States, there are 100,000 to 300,000 individuals trafficked annually and only a handful of shelters for those victims. The majority of the victims are young girls who have fallen prey to the commercial sex industry at the hands of perpetrators, according to reports from the U.S. government.
Refuge of Light is dedicated to the redemptive rescue and restoration of domestic minor sex-trafficked girls through advocacy, awareness and holistic care.
For more than 133 years, Buckner has been transforming lives through hands-on ministry, serving the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life. Buckner is one of the oldest and most unique faith-based social service organizations of its kind, serving more than 450,000 people each year in the United States and 22 countries worldwide.