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Sep 17

Local Texas Bands Help Raise Awareness for Child Exploitation

 

Child exploitation. Teen prostitution. Youth trafficking. These are all things we picture happening in the dark, dank, dirty backroom of a Russian mob boss’s pub, in the back alley of some large Asian city, or in remote areas of Africa by pirates.

However, the issues of child exploitation, prostitution and trafficking are much closer to home. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, they estimate that domestically 293,000 minors are at risk of being victims of commercial sexual exploitation. These estimates are in addition to the thousands of girls smuggled into the United States from other countries each year.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]…domestically 293,000 minors are at risk of being victims of commercial sexual exploitation.[/pullquote] The majority of girls at risk are runaways or throw-aways with the average age to first become victims of prostitution being 12 to 14 years old. Fleeing a home where physical, sexual and emotional abuse reign at large, these girls seek something or someone to give them the security they most desperately need and desire. Unfortunately many girls find this “security” in the form of a pimp. The pimp manipulates these girls by giving them false emotional comfort, money or highly addicting drugs to maintain control over these young girls and teenagers, seizing on the failures of the adults supposedly entrusted with the care and safety of these young girls. The physical, mental and emotional problems from this captive life have a lasting impact on the girls, with some severe cases of rescued vicitims exhibiting symptoms similar to Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological phenomenon where captured victims actually begin to have affectionate feelings towards their captors or abusers. Other problems arise in the form of drug addiction, trust and behavioral issues with adults and varied emotional and mental issues.

While the problem of the child trafficking and prostitution is one that is nation wide, major cities are where most cases are documented. Of all cities in America, Dallas, Texas was ranked by the FBI as one of the top fourteen cities in the nation with the highest incidence of commercial sexual exploitation of children. Standing aginst the tide of this epidemic of child exploitation is the Letot Girls’ Center.

Opening its doors in 1979, the Letot Girls’ Center was one of the first programs in the nation to provide multidisciplinary intervention services for youth. Their mission is to “assist referred youth in becoming productive, law-abiding citizens, while promoting public safey and victim restoration.” With continued expansion, the Letot Girls’ Center has served more than 60,000 youth and their families, according to their website. The center provides many services from 24-hour family crisis intervention, HIV and STD testing, psychological testing and psychiatric consultation, suicide and depression screening and non-denominational church programs supported by volunteer chaplains among many other things.

So, where do Indie Christian bands fit into this equation? Try helping raise money for a new $8.7 million, two-story, 55,000 square foot facility titled “The Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center“. On September 1, 2012, the Second Annual Letot Jam Fest took place where 100% of all ticket sells went to support the Letot Girls’ Center. Sponsored by Chick-fil-A, Kona Guitars and “I Am Second”, the event was hosted at the Abundant Life Church in Plano, Texas and touted WMA fighter Kevin Grimes and Karen Green from “I Am Second” as special guest speakers. Headlined by the band Paper Tigers (now known as For the People), the event also sported local talent such as Unveiled, Bishop Ridge, This City Awaits, Dälom, Matta Fact and E. Daniel.

RockCriesOut.com was able to interview headliner Paper Tigers concerning how they felt about Letot Girls’ Center’s mission to help with domestic prositution and exploitation of young girls. They responded by stating, “We have had a real passion for this specific ministry and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. We got a lot of info that we can use in the future for helping organizations like this.” When asked about how this event fit into their overall mission as a band, they said “This specific festival was an answer to prayer, we need more Music festivals with this positive mission. We as Paper Tigers have felt like we need to pursue this field more.” Paper Tigers also had this to say about the Letot Jam Fest:

“We really want to thank Abundant Life Church for allowing the Festival to be there, and Charlie Morgan for all the hard work he did putting this event together. We want to thank everyone who came to support and give their time, and ask for prayer for the girls at the center. We were truly blessed to be apart of this.”

Experimental Alternative Rock band, Dälom, also had this to say about the Jam Fest:

‎”Dälom was honored to be a part of this event, where many artists of diverse genres, as well as national and local organizations, came together, with the SOUND OF ONE HEART & ONE SHARED PURPOSE, to help these invisible daughters in such great need, to have a chance at restoration of what has been stolen from them! Thank you Charlie (Whosoever) Morgan, for your heart of outstanding dedication, & HARD WORK in putting this event together!”

For more information about the Letot Jam Fest, check out their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/LetotJamFest. Information about the Letot Girls’ Center can be found at their website here: http://letotgirlscenter.org/index.htm. Also, special thanks goes out to Charlie “Whosoever” Morgan for taking great pains and sacrifice to put this event together. May your efforts be blessed and our prayers go out to the girls you and the Letot Girls’ Center are working so hard to rescue and protect!

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