DALLAS, Texas (KDAF) — Jaco Booyens became an advocate for fighting sex trafficking after it hit close to home. Booyens sister was a victim of trafficking and he’s made it his life’s mission to fight the global trafficking crisis.
Booyens is the director of the film 8 Days, which raises awareness about the sex trafficking industry. He’s also the CEO of After Eden Pictures and founder of SHAREtogether, a non-profit organization fighting against the global crisis of sex trafficking.
You might hear about it on the news, or think it’s something that doesn’t happen in our area, but Booyens points to some numbers that say that’s just not the case.
And it’s happening here in North Texas.
“We have on average 400 children being trafficked per day through Dallas, Texas,” he says, “not DFW, Dallas Texas.”
Booyens says in Texas alone there are 76,000 children per day at risk of trafficking and in the trafficking environment, and that only 1% of crimes are reported.
One alarming trend he sees is children being forced into sex trafficking by a family member.
Booyens says “Predominately today, the fastest rising trend of trafficking children is what’s called familial trafficking, where family members are trafficking their own children.”
According to Booyens, American children are often the forgotten ones in this crisis and there often aren’t many support resources available if they’re removed from trafficking.
Homeless children or children that grow up in broken homes aren’t always the targets of trafficking, either. He says “the softest target today in the United States of America is the child that’s at home, with two parents but the parents aren’t present.” Parents might be physically present, but Booyens challenges every parent to really know what their kids are doing on various social media platforms.
Booyens says platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagam, TikTok are “absolutely” used to target children for trafficking, but he says parents need to be mindful of less obvious platforms like Xbox and Playstation.
For more information on Booyens and his organizations, visit jacobooyensministries.org