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Mothers of human trafficking victims share their stories, raise awareness in League City

A lineup of advocates and mothers of victims of human trafficking hosted an event Oct. 6 at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center in League City, discussing how to recognize and prevent the crime.

Nichole Bowie, a League City resident and founder of Mady’s Movement, lost her daughter Mady to human trafficking two years ago. She said Mady was groomed for several months prior.

“It wasn’t the crazy story that you see on Facebook that she was, you know, stolen out of the Kroger parking lot or something,” Bowie said. “That’s not how that happened.”

Also present at the event was Robyn Cory, whose daughter has been missing since January 2020. Cory said her daughter, Kristen, was groomed, manipulated and lured out of their house by a trafficker in late 2019. Kristen was then sold and assaulted before being picked up by the Houston Police Department and returned home.

Kristen then went missing again Jan. 2, 2020, and has yet to be found. Cory said the case was picked up by Montgomery County officials who declined to issue an Amber Alert for Kristen.

“They pretty much told me they don’t cross county lines to search for runaway children,” Cory said. “It was assumed that she was trafficked.”

In February 2021, Cory received an image of her daughter from the as part of an ongoing effort to locate the people who sold Kristen. The image depicted Kristen being sold online for $10,000 a night out of Atlanta, Georgia.

“My husband and I flew to Atlanta,” Cory said. “We tracked all the numbers down in the ad. We tried to find our kid, and in the end they told us we missed her by about 30 days. There’s been no new leads on Kristen at all.”

Bowie and Cory both emphasized the dangers of in their stories, imploring parents to be aware of the types of people their children interact with in online spaces. Bowie said the vast majority of human trafficking victims were groomed by online traffickers.

“The misconception is that kids are kidnapped into trafficking, and that’s usually not the case,” said Jessica Peck, a nurse and human trafficking advocate.

Peck said, to work preventatively to protect children and teens from trafficking, parents should signal to their kids that they are an “open door” to talk about complicated issues, such as sexting, pornography and mental health issues.

“Sometimes parents are afraid to talk to their kids about things that are really scary, because they don’t want to expose them to something they haven’t been exposed to yet,” Peck said. “But I think if you expose them in a developmentally appropriate way, you are positioning yourself as the expert.”

Bowie people who witness suspicious activity relating to human trafficking or suspect someone they know to be in danger to contact the human trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.

“We need to be more proactive, because if we are being reactive, then our hands are tied,” Bowie said.

An upcoming event further spreading awareness on the dangers of human trafficking and supporting victims will take place Nov. 4 at the Lone Star Flight Museum, 11551 Aerospace Ave., Houston. Information can be viewed on League City’s Human Trafficking Awareness Events webpage.

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.