BELL COUNTY, Texas — According to Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, 79,000 minors are sex trafficked in Texas at any given time.
Many of those trafficked fall victim right here in Central Texas.
A new non-profit is hoping to lower those numbers.
Janiece Charlez is a mom hoping to help other mothers protect their children. That's why she now spends her days working with A Rose Program.
The program works to prevent more people from being sex trafficked, like Charlez's daughter, Natalie.
"She turned 21 a week before she was murdered," Charlez said. "We have a serious problem here in Bell County."
Charlez said Natalie was recruited at Temple High School where she was a student. Natalie was swept into the world of sex trafficking across the state of Texas.
She became pregnant twice.
Charlez said she would often scour ads on Backpage as a way to check if her daughter was still alive.
"You know I didn't sleep for about two years. I went on very little sleep," Charlez said.
Natalie would go home at times, but she was always pulled back into that life.
Charlez said Natalie expressed concerns that her captor would one day kill her before she was killed in 2016.
Her death remains unsolved.
Janiece connected with Janet Brown after the tragedy and got involved with A Rose Program.
"We understand what breaks God's heart because we see it in real life. Women are not to be bought," Brown said.
The new Bell County organization helps trafficking victims and survivors through awareness, restoration, outreach, sanctuary and ending demand.
"If it helps one girl if it helps one person then it's worth it and all of my tears, and that's honoring Natalie," Charlez said.
The organization is looking to expand and has several events planned in January for Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
If you know someone Emani should spotlight in the future, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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