The Quiet Car

In a mad dash to the DC bound train at Boston’s South Station, I noticed an Amtrak staff person indicating that the very first car after Business class was “The Quiet Car”. My heart did a little leap…


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The Time of Looking Away is Over.

Our city is in trouble. Our people are in trouble. Our families. Our children.

This is not a dramatized statement. If you’ve watched the videos from last week, you’re probably starting to get the idea.

New Mexico is ranked number two in the country for violent crimes, with 703 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

We have approximately 6000 homeless youth in the city of Albuquerque alone.

Homeless teens face many barriers to services, and in our state, there are few services available. Barriers come in the form of youth not being able to check themselves into youth shelters, acquire food, open bank accounts, have safe transportation, and understand social services including physical and mental health care. These types of barriers leave homeless youth extremely vulnerable to predatory sex traffickers.

The National Trafficking in Persons Report for 2013 reveals that within 48 hours of being homeless on the street a teen will be approached by a trafficker. This same report states that the average age of entry into sex trafficking is between 14–17 years old, and teens who have been in the child welfare system are at an especially high risk of vulnerability based trafficking.

From the experience of the New Mexico Dream Center, every one of their adult sex trafficking clients was initially trafficked as a teen, and less than 5% came from families that were not in child welfare of some sort.

They saw these problems in our town, and made it their mission to,

NMDC is comprised of 3 different organizations that handle different populations: Spoken For, Casa Aliento, and The Harbour.

SPOKEN FOR goes beyond the basic needs and helps to empower victims of trafficking. They provide victims with trained victim advocates and a number of resources to help them get their life back.

SPOKEN FOR is still growing, however. They will soon be offering an Inpatient Social Detox Program (currently Spoken For collaborates with the community to establish housing). This will make the process even easier for the individuals who need their services. It will be a one-stop-shop for almost everything you can think of: meals, private rooms, fitness, counseling, education, job skill training, and healthcare services.

Because New Mexico is a border and a bilingual state, there are many trafficked victims that are solely Spanish speakers. Well, NMDC has that covered too.

You may already know from the 60 second segments that the New Mexico Dream Center wanted to not only help victims of human trafficking; they wanted to intervene before people became victims.

So, they opened The Harbour this summer.

They are a no-strings-attached, low barrier environment, open to all teens who are in need of their services.

This means that teens who were either kicked out of their homes or left to escape abuse now have a safe place to be, receive food, water, a hot shower, clothes, good conversation with trained volunteers, and simply have a place to relax and be a kid.

By providing these teens with the resources they need, they don’t need to look elsewhere. Coercion into the sex trade industry is much easier when you approach a young adult in need who has no other options.

Everything the New Mexico Dream Center does and offers comes with a no-strings attached mindset, unlike the traffickers who prey upon homeless teens. The gift of help is just that…a gift.

The New Mexico Dream Center gives to give, and they expect nothing in return. They are mostly volunteer run by people who simply want to do good.

In a world that seems filled with so much hate and despair, organizations like these show how much kindness is still here.

When people are reported missing and no one ever finds them… Where do you think they go?

There are thousands and thousands of people in this country who have disappeared and been forgotten.

We have to remember to speak for those whose voices have been stolen from them.


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