MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) - Human trafficking is a big problem in West Texas, but Reflections Ministries is doing their part to help trafficking victims recover from trauma.
“There is a presence of human trafficking here,” Reflections Ministries Executive Director Cori Armstead said. “It has been for a number of years.”
Armstead explained trafficking is a huge problem in the Permian Basin.
Its location between I-10 and I-20 makes it much more accessible for traffickers to move their victims throughout the region.
“Those are the two main corridors of transporting victims from the East to West coast and vice versa,” she said.
That’s why Armstead said West Texas needs the massive five-house shelter her organization is building called The Village, which is designed to protect and heal dozens of victims.
“This will be the resident’s facility for victims where they can have safety and security straight from crisis, so they don’t have to worry about their traffickers coming after them,” Armstead said.
Armstead couldn’t show us the shelter in order to make sure future residents are kept hidden from the public eye, but she describes it as a huge 20-acre structure that will hold up to 20 people at a time.
And, unlike all other shelters in the area, this one is tailored to help adults transition into a safe lifestyle.
“We will invest in their lives for up to four years so that they have the skill set and the training and the ability to be independent and self-sufficient, instead of just living on the streets,” she said.
As construction continues, Armstead said people are already helping fund the project by paying to paint these ceramic flowers as a sign of solidarity.
Armstead said this tells her the public is finally starting the recognize sex workers not as criminals, but victims in desperate need of help.
“It is more recognizing them and seeing them as a victim and wondering what happened to them that they are in that part of their life and recognizing that they’re the victim and the criminals are the ones that are buying and selling them,” Armstead said.
The Village is expected to open this winter, but in the meantime anyone who wants to learn more about the services offered by Reflections Ministries can call their office at 432-247-1099.