Bush School graduate Kelsie works for Redeemed Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides a home for women who have been victims of human trafficking in the United States.
By Texas A&M University Bush School of Government & Public Service
Editor’s note: The subject’s last name has been redacted due to the sensitive nature of her work.
The issue of human trafficking is one that Bush School graduate Kelsie has been passionate about since she arrived at Texas A&M as an undergraduate. Early on, she attended a presentation on the issue, and while at the Bush School, she did research and wrote about the problem.
So when she graduated with a degree in International Affairs in 2017 from the Bush School, rather than taking a job to which she wasn’t really committed, Kelsie decided that she should follow her heart, which led her to a non-profit organization that provides a home for women who have been victims of human trafficking in the United States, and is one of the many issues being addressed during International Women’s Day on March 8.
Sadly, human trafficking is a reality around the world, and prevalent right here in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of victims, with the majority of them being women, trapped in this dark world. Because of the hidden nature of the crime, and the number of victims, addressing the problem requires a many-pronged approach.
Kelsie notes that the organization, Redeemed Ministries, is active in awareness and advocacy, bringing the issue to the public forefront through awareness presentations and a media campaign, as well as operating a restoration home which ise a refugefor human trafficking victims.
“The specialized long-term care we provide is crucial because of the deep trauma they have experienced,” Kelsie says. “Sadly, homes specifically designed to help these women are few and far between across the country,” she added.
Along with counseling, the women have other forms of therapy and development classes in which they can participate, including equine therapy, where they learn self-confidence and how to build quality relationships with another living being.
“As a horse person myself, there’s truly nothing quite like the therapeutic bond between a horse and its ‘person,’ so to speak; so I myself can attest to how useful and effective this particular therapy activity is,” says Kelsie. Other activities include support groups, art classes, and a weekly communicationand computer literacy course. Additionally, the women also give back to the local community through service opportunities, such as making meals or desserts, or volunteering at a food pantry or resale shop.
“As a staff, we’re basically trying to prepare the clients as much as possible for the real world,” Kelsie says. “We want to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need to succeed—both professionally and personally—upon successfully completing their year in the Sparrow House, as the restoration house is named.”
“We think of trafficking as a problem for other countries,” Kelsie said, “but in fact it is a very big issue in the United States and in Texas–even in College Station. Victims can be day workers, massage workers, and even children,” she added.
Kelsie felt a strong pull to work for this ministry, even though her parents had some understandable trepidation about her safety. Although she receives little financial compensation, Kelsie is happy to assist women who have to learn how to rebuild their lives after enduring terror and abuse, and who can spend up to one year in residence. She actually lives in the organization’s North Houston restoration house for seven days at a time with the women, then does other volunteer work within the ministry on her seven days off.
Redeemed Ministries also provides a long-term commitment to the women they serve, offering case management and connecting them with resources wherever they decide to live.
“We walk with these women for years and make sure they are handling the new stresses of everyday life in a healthy manner,” Kelsie says. “This work reinforces the values of respect, integrity, and selfless service which I saw at Texas A&M and the Bush School, and I’m honored to be able to help people in need.”
Media contact: Stephanie P. Taylor, 979-845-6858, firstname.lastname@example.org.