Unbound BCS approved for outreach in Brazos County Detention

Traffickers target individuals during vulnerable times, where needs and desires are heightened.

That’s one of the reasons Unbound BCS will start providing prevention and awareness education in the Brazos County Detention Center, where they’ll have the opportunity to interact with women reentering the community. Women leaving incarceration may have increased risk factors for trafficking, including housing instability, lack of employment, or previous history with substance abuse. By educating these women on the realities of trafficking, the tactics of traffickers, and the supportive resources available, Unbound hopes to prevent their victimization.

Another reason this education is so important is that human trafficking victims may not realize that’s what’s happening to them. Traffickers often manipulate their victims to make them believe that commercial sex is their choice or fault, or that there is no other way for them to live. Through human trafficking education, many women see the signs of trafficking in their own lives and reach out for help.

“What the agreement will allow to happen is for Unbound to come in to the facility and primarily provide education to people about what the signs of human trafficking are,” {Brazos County Jail Administrator Wayne} Dicky said. “We think that education will be valuable particularly to the women in custody. Not exclusively, but particularly to the women in custody so they kind of know what those scenarios look like.”

Check out this article from The Eagle for more information.

Unbound's Book Available on Amazon

This spring, Unbound published its first book, “Surviving ‘The Life:’ How I Overcame Sex Trafficking.” Written by Survivor Leader Julia Walsh, this memoir tells her story of becoming trapped in sex trafficking, being rescued, and growing into a survivor who now uses her voice and work to help other victims with Unbound.

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Criminal or Victim? It can be hard to tell the difference in the dark world of sex trafficking. Julia Walsh fell prey to "The Life" during her freshman year of college. For years law enforcement, doctors, community members, and even Julia herself, failed to recognize that she was a victim. Professionals and community members missed many opportunities to intervene. As Julia opens your eyes to the heartbreaking realities of sex trafficking, she will also leave you with hope that every victim can become a survivor and conviction that each of us must play our part. In her heart-rending story, Julia opens up about the childhood experiences that made her vulnerable, the manipulation of her abusers, and the strength she found to survive and overcome. Readers will learn that sex trafficking is happening in our communities, but there is something each of us can do to help.

If you want to better understand how sex trafficking happens or share this knowledge with a friend, order your copies of “Surviving ‘The Life’” on Amazon today!

Amazon Reviews

“Very compelling read. I was struck that someone like Julia who grew up in a “normal” home with a loving family could find herself so easily trapped as a sex trafficking victim. It’s inspiring to see her life transform as the pages turn. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I’m so glad Julia had the courage to write her story."

"This book will make you aware of the realities of human trafficking and the struggles women face everyday. You will not put this book down. Julia is such a strong woman and her story will bring you to tears as well as ignite a passion to help those who are involved with human trafficking. A must read."

"Julia's courage in telling her story, the very real and raw story of surviving sex trafficking, will help many. "Surviving the Life" gives hope for those caught up in the life, as well as those of us who want to be part of their rescue. As a counselor, I gained insight on the complex trauma experienced by victims. There is rescue, healing, and redemption. Julia is a beautiful example of what love and grace can do even in the darkest of places."

Unbound Around the World, 2018

2018 was a foundational year for Unbound. Our number of chapters remained consistent, and the quality and quantity of impact through each chapter was remarkably strengthened. This report serves as an overview of Unbound activities around the world, focusing on a few of the key impact areas for each chapter and project. We are hopeful for an incredible 2019, as we continue to take every opportunity God sets before us to see the Church and our communities combat slavery and ignite hope.

Click on the image below to read the full report.

UnBound Houston's Kerri Taylor on Dr. Paul Osteen's M3 Podcast

Dr. Paul Osteen is using The M3 Podcast to draw attention to issues happening around the globe and what people are doing about it. In this episode, he and UnBound Houston Executive Director Kerri Taylor discuss domestic minor sex trafficking, how it's happening in Houston, and what UnBound is doing about.


The Faces of UnBound: Julia

At UnBound, we believe that every person has a unique part to play in bringing an end to human trafficking. That’s why we encourage everyone (regardless of your career, age, or background) to get involved. Volunteers, survivors, and partners are truly the faces of UnBound; we wouldn’t be who we are without you! Below is the story of Julia Walsh, one of our brave survivors and a powerful advocate for change.

Julia Walsh fell prey to the dark world of human trafficking as a freshman in college. After four years as a victim, Julia was rescued and set on a path towards freedom. She now works at our UnBound office in Fort Worth and is a crucial advocate for other survivors. Julia’s new book, “Surviving ‘The Life’” tells a powerful story of deep pain turned into restoration and hope.


 In her book, Julia addresses her reader and says that she “shares her story so others may know that not only can [they] survive sex trafficking, but [they] can have a bright and successful future.” Her desire is to offer hope to anyone who has been in similar circumstances and to equip victims with hope and the knowledge that they can have a full life, rather than just a life of survival.

In the middle of her trafficking, Julia found hope for a better life in helping another girl escape “The Life.” Though it came at a cost for her, Julia defied her trafficker and sent the girl to safety in a show of amazing courage, She describes this experience in the following excerpt:

“One day, we drove up to Waco, and [my trafficker] told me to post an ad on Backpage, as usual. He left me at the motel to work, telling me I’d better have money for him when he returned. I worked on ‘automatic,’ thinking only of obedience and survival. Later that night, he came back with a dangerous grin on his face and told me to get dressed and come with him to the parking lot. There, we met up with a man with three young white girls. My trafficker bragged, talked, and ‘finessed’ everyone in the room. One of the girls openly said she wanted to go with us. The other pimp wasn’t happy. When the girl came with us, my heart broke. She told us she was 18, but I could tell she was younger. Years later, when I was out of the life, I found out she had run away from a local youth residential center with another girl.

“My maternal instincts kicked in, and I started trying to figure out how to save her. When we were alone, I tried to convince her this was not what she wanted, but she argued with me, thinking Jonathan would take care of her. She told Jonathan what I said to her, and he threatened me, my unborn child, and my freedom. I tried to talk him into letting her leave, telling him a young runaway would cause him problems. He wouldn’t listen. I tried to get her to call her family, but she wouldn’t. She said both parents were crack addicts who beat her every day. She didn’t want to go home. Money had to be made, and she wouldn’t leave. So I set up tricks for us, giving her the ‘repeats’ or ‘regulars,’ who I knew would be somewhat safer.

“I finally convinced Jonathan he needed to send the girl home to keep us out of trouble. As soon as he left, before he could change his mind, I took her to the Greyhound Station, bought her a ticket, and gave her all the money I had. I scribbled my name and number on a torn off piece of paper, telling her to call me if she ever needed anything or found herself in trouble. Jonathan didn’t know I gave her my name, phone number, and money, and I prayed he wouldn’t find out. When her bus pulled out of the station, I had 24 hours to make up all that money to give to Jonathan when he returned the next day.


“Because of this girl, I found a little bit of hope. She doesn’t know it, but in letting me help her get out of there, she helped me find the inspiration I needed to persevere through this life a little bit longer. She gave me a glimmer of hope for myself, my daughter, and my family. She fueled my will to survive a little bit longer and sparked some of my future desire to help people in ‘The Life.’”

This amazing testimony of hope in such a dark place is a theme throughout Julia’s story. Today, through her work at UnBound, Julia works to give this same hope to victims of human trafficking. Julia Walsh is a courageous survivor of human trafficking and advocate for others. She fights for girls like herself tirelessly and is committed to sharing her story with anyone who will listen.

"Surviving The Life" is available for purchase at UnBound events and on Amazon.

The Faces of Unbound: Liz

At UnBound, we believe that every person has a unique part to play in bringing an end to human trafficking. That’s why we encourage everyone (regardless of your career, age, or background) to get involved. Volunteers, survivors, and partners are truly the faces of UnBound; we wouldn’t be who we are without you! Below are some thoughts from Liz Buice, a local attorney and longtime volunteer trainer with UnBound.

Elizabeth is a Waco attorney and longtime volunteer with UnBound. Liz recently opened her own practice where she represents children in foster care. Before UnBound existed, Liz felt God calling her to do something about human trafficking. She heard about UnBound and got involved in training; Liz has been a faithful partner ever since!

Liz is passionate about raising awareness about human trafficking because “homeless and foster children are really susceptible to being trafficked.” She’s even worked with kids who have experienced trafficking.

Without awareness of human trafficking, the community’s ability to carry out justice suffers, according to Liz. Before opening her own practice, Liz was a prosecutor at the D.A.’s office and she worked on a few trafficking cases. Using an example from Julia Walsh’s case, Liz said: “The laws are there [to protect people against human trafficking]... but a fact pattern that amounts to trafficking could also be charged as prostitution, possibly assault-dating violence, there’s all kinds of causes of action… but until the last 5 years or so, all of these cases were probably coming in and being charged as something different. Not necessarily that those other charges were wrong, because those things also happened. It’s just it wasn’t being recognized that it could also be charged as trafficking.”

Liz drew a comparison between Waco and other communities where community members aren’t so adamant about stopping human trafficking. She told us “In different parts of the state, lawyers will talk about places where they got eight years on a sexual assault of a child case and my colleagues, and I from here are like ‘that’s awful,’ but they’re so proud of it. So we come away thinking we’re in the promised land of juries because we’ve educated the community about [these issues] and people in this community are passionate about stopping those things.”


For Liz, the key is that an educated community creates an educated jury panel. She explained this connection, saying: “In voir dire, in jury selection, you can only do so much education, like you have thirty minutes or you have an hour. You can try to educate them in that amount of time, but it makes such a difference if your panel already knows some of the things that you’re trying to tell them or you have one or two members of the panel who [are educated on trafficking] and you can call on them and they can educate the rest of the panel. The more we educate the community, the more it comes back for us.”

This education is crucial in people being able to both identify and fight for a victim of trafficking.  Liz said that “a lot of victims of trafficking have had a rough go of it. In Julia’s case, she was a victim. She, in a lot of people’s eyes, could have also been looked at as a perpetrator."

“So, unless you have a jury who are prepared mentally to see somebody labeled as the victim or the survivor, then they’re not going to be ready to go to bat for them. And that education is a lot more than you could do in a voir dire time amount. So you’ve got to educate people to recognize her as the trauma victim that she is.”

If people don’t have an understanding of trafficking, they will treat victims like criminals. Our community will continue to support traffickers instead of victims and allow injustice to occur. Raising awareness about human trafficking both helps our community prevent trafficking and support victims of trafficking! Liz is passionate about training because she sees how our community can transform lives when we come together and say trafficking will not happen in our city.

How could you use your gifts, talents and resources to fight human trafficking?

Written by Nikki Thompson
Professional Writing Intern, UnBound Waco

Faces of UnBound: TJ

At UnBound, we believe that every person has a unique part to play in bringing an end to human trafficking. That’s why we encourage everyone (regardless of your career, age, or background) to get involved. Volunteers, survivors, and partners are truly the faces of UnBound; we wouldn’t be who we are without you! We chatted with TJ, a family medicine physician in Waco and longtime friend of UnBound!


TJ lives in Waco with his wife Katie and their three kids: six-year-old Aubrey, four-year-old Caleb, 21 month-old Given one on the way! TJ and his family are committed to service - through medical missions, missionary support trips, and dedicated support of UnBound. As a physician, TJ serves as a volunteer medical trainer for UnBound and offers a unique perspective on the importance of training the community about human trafficking.

TJ and Katie first became involved in the fight against human trafficking while he was in medical school in Denver. A friend recommended they read “Not For Sale” by David Batstone, and by the end of the book, TJ and Katie decided to become advocates for victims of trafficking and do what they could to raise awareness. When they were considering residency programs, one thing that stood out about Waco was that they googled ‘human trafficking Waco’ and UnBound was the first thing that popped up. TJ said that it was a big draw for them “that there was already work being done in the city that [they] could come alongside.”

When they moved to Waco, TJ said they “reached out to UnBound, ended up volunteering with the 5K the first year and then started getting more involved recently as UnBound has ramped up the scope of the professional training.” TJ has done multiple trainings with UnBound for a variety of organizations, but as a doctor himself, he especially sees the importance of training medical professionals.


When asked if he received training on human trafficking in medical school, TJ said no. He was trained on how to treat victims of child abuse and domestic violence, which can sometimes be similar to victims of trafficking. “Curriculum is slow to change,” he explained. “Doctoring is an ancient profession, so typically medical school and residency is going to be the most up-to-date in training you’re going to be at any point in your career and it still lags behind the literature and the studies and that sort of thing. So even if we’re finding that human trafficking is a big part of what millions of Americans are experiencing and suffering from, it’s going to take a while for that to trickle down into the med school curriculum.”

He recalls an event from when he was a second or third-year medical student. He was in the emergency room, and they had a patient who was potentially in a human trafficking situation. TJ said:

“It was really sort of disheartening to see the ER doctors and nurses going ‘I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know what that means. Why don’t they just leave then?’”

This is why organizations like UnBound are so important, because we can fill in where there are gaps of knowledge. He told us: “Getting these [trainings and resources] especially to emergency room, clinic doctors, support staff and everybody else who takes care of the patient is vital to actually identifying [trafficking]. The hospital is one of the few places where a victim or survivor of human trafficking might interact with a professional who has the resources to try to help them.”

TJ also finds that he can practice preventive training in his workplace by talking to parents and young children about issues related to human trafficking. He begins talking with boys and their parents about autonomy over their bodies, safe and unsafe images, and eventually about sex and pornography. TJ knows that human trafficking is market-driven, so if he can intervene in pornography addiction, the demand for buying sex will lessen. He also talks with young girls about autonomy and empowerment. TJ fights human trafficking in his home, in his workplace, and by doing training -- proving that it doesn’t matter what your job is, you can join the fight against human trafficking.

How could you use your gifts, talents and resources to fight human trafficking?

Written by Nikki Thompson
Professional Writing Intern, UnBound Waco