Despite Houston's excellent efforts to stop human trafficking, the city remains one at the top of many lists when it comes to this heinous crime. According to statistics a quarter of all reported human trafficking victims that are rescued happen to be here in Texas, with a good chunk of those being in Houston. Just last month, officials raided a home in Cherry Springs and found more than 20 people, mostly suspected immigrants, holed up in a home. For one of the greatest (or THE greatest) cities in the country, we need to get on this problem.
One local organization has made the promotion of awareness to this issue its mission. A 2nd Cup, which is a coffee shop located in the Heights on 11th Street, is trying to stop human trafficking one cup of joe at a time. They are a non profit organization that supports efforts to stop this explosive problem locally and nationally.
This coming Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. A 2nd Cup will be holding a short film screening of two eye-opening films on human trafficking: Not For Sale II and Nefarious I: Merchant of Souls. The latter focuses on the horrific aspects of the prostitution aspect of trafficking, as well as giving a sense of hope as to how to eliminate this problem.
The film festival was curated by none other than a high school junior who got interested in the subject and felt she wanted to do something to help. Danielle Garay is a student at Montrose's Carnegie Vanguard High School and as a part of a class project that asked students to dive into a topic they felt was important. Garay choose human trafficking because she saw a presentation given on the topic by the organization A21 Campaign.
"I had never heard of human trafficking before," says Garay, "and was immediately shocked that slavery still existed today. For a long time, I had wanted to actively do something that could help bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking as well as help rescue victims."
With the upcoming film screenings, Garay feels like she is helping out in some respects. All of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to human trafficking relief efforts.
"With my screening, I hope to cause people to realize how large of an issue human trafficking really is, and how big of a hub Houston is," Garay notes.
For a high school student, Garay is setting a pretty exemplary example for the rest of us. Right on.
Human Trafficking Film Night at a 2nd Cup. 1035 E 11th St. Saturday, March 9, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. $5. for more information visit a2ndcup.org