A North Texas nonprofit is shining light on a problem that is thriving in the shadows.
Human sex trafficking, described as a form of modern-day slavery, happens when a trafficker uses force or fraud to get another person to sell themselves for sex.
Often the victims are some of society's most vulnerable.
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Soon, some of those victims will have a safe place to turn in north Texas to escape the horrors of sex trafficking.
Bob’s House of Hope in Denton is a newly renovated home opening as a safe house for male sex trafficking victims between the ages of 18-24.
“Bob’s House of Hope is the first safe house in the country for young men who have been sex trafficked,” said CEO Bob Williams.
Williams said there’s a myth about sex trafficking that it doesn’t happen often to boys, and that “boys can get away,” he said, adding those are both major misconceptions.
“The reality is that we believe that somewhere between 35 and 50% of sex traffic victims in this country are boys and young men,” Williams said.
The home and everything in it came from donations, he said.
It’ll shelter as many as eight young men rescued from what Williams says is a raging epidemic.
“There's a sickness in this world, alright, and people have to wake up to the fact that it's a very real problem,” Williams said.
He knows because, like all who will end up at the home, Williams says he's a sexual assault survivor, too.
“I've had a lot of counseling a lot of treatment and I've devoted my life to helping as many people as I could,” he said.
Bob’s House of Hope shares a property with another non-profit Williams funds called Ranch Hands Rescue, which cares for abused and neglected farm animals.
Landon Dickeson, director of clinical services, says young men living at the home will care for the animals, forming bonds that are often difficult to create with people.
Dickeson said victims will receive counseling, health care, training and mentorship while staying at the house.
"What we're creating here is not just a house but an actual home,” Dickeson said.
Bob’s House of Hope opens June 1.
To get help or report trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: Call: 888-373-7888. Send a text message: Text HELP to BEFREE (233733) By email: email@example.com.