Just how much are Houston’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities affected by human trafficking? We don’t really know. Nobody does… yet. But that’s why Montrose Counseling Center is working with Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition to try to help LGBT human trafficking victims escape safely. MCC’s Anti-Violence Program Coordinator, Rick Musquiz, LCSW, says a lot of victims don’t realize they are being trafficked because they have a roof over their head and food on their table. They think of human trafficking victims as undocumented and underage, doing slave labor and sex work. And that is true for some. In fact, if you are found soliciting a minor, it is a first degree felony. We think that there is an increasing number of gay men and transgender women who are being victimized. Human traffickers know that many have turned to the street because they have been kicked out of their homes. The victims are unable to find any other means to support themselves, so they end up being forced to have sex to “pay back” their debt to the trafficker.
On Tuesday, September 20, Montrose Counseling Center and Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition will present Cutting Edge, a movie about the rise of human trafficking and the sex trade in Romania. The film will begin at 7 p.m. in Rooms 106/107 of the GLBT Cultural Center, 401 Branard Street. This event is free and open to all; however the film does address mature subject matter, so viewer discretion is advised.
If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking, call 1-888-3737-888 to get help right away.