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In the Media

Media coverage of The Refuge for DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) in Austin, Texas. This includes newsletters as well. 


Steven "Flyer" Phenix

The Refuge for child sex trafficking to open soon

(KVUE) “So, when we open for 48 girls, it's a start but it's not enough,” said Steven Phenix of The Refuge. The Refuge for DMST™ (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) is developing The Refuge Ranch, a long-term, residential, therapeutic community for girls, minors through age 19, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. Read More >>>

Solutions: What Texas can do to help child sex-trafficking victims

(TEXAS TRIBUNE) “We have to build the places. We have to create the places. That money has to be raised,” said Brooke Crowder, the founder and executive director of The Refuge, who’s in the middle of raising more than $6 million to build a facility for 48 child sex-trafficking victims in Bastrop. “At the end of the day, the state has to be willing to put resources for infrastructure to house and care for these children.” Read More >>>

Center for sex trafficking survivors breaks ground in Bastrop County

(BASTROP ADVERTISER/AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN) “There has been a great awakening going on that our children in the United States have been bought and sold for sex at an alarming rate,” Refuge founder Brooke Crowder told the crowd. “We recognize that there are so few places for them to heal. Our mission is to be that place. And today represents one day closer to that dream.” Read More >>>

Haven for trafficking victims in Central Texas still seeking funds

(AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN) “'When Brooke told me the ideal target in Austin for human trafficking was a 12-year-old girl, it broke my heart. I have a 12-year-old girl,' [Pastor Randy Phillips] said. 'Joining with Brooke to empower her dreams at the Refuge became our mission.'

"But Crowder said the work is not done. She is focused on raising the remainder of the $2 million the group needs by the end of the year." Read More >>>

Safe Haven for Sex Trafficked Girls Coming to Texas

(BREITBART) “When we talk about domestic victims, we are talking about girls born and raised in the United States and they are trafficked in the United States, often city to city and state to state,” said Brooke Crowder, founder and director of the non-profit Refuge for DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) in an interview with Breitbart Texas. Crowder said the project breaks ground in the Austin-area later this month. “We only have 24 beds for child sex trafficking victims in Texas,” she commented. The Refuge ranch will offer 48 beds, more than at any other facility. Read More >>>


(KUT-FM "TEXAS STANDARD") "Trafficking victims have nowhere to go once they’re rescued except juvenile detention centers. That’s about to change." Read More >>>


(AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN) Brooke Crowder, the Executive Director of The Refuge, found her calling in graduate school when she saw a video of young girls being pulled out of a hole in the floor of a brothel in India. They had been victims of sex traffickers. The footage left her weeping for an hour. That cause, her advisor told her, could be what you do with your life. Read More >>


"Most children who have had this experience have tremendous shame, guilt. They feel forgotten. And so at The Refuge that is our mission is to tell them their life matters, you are not forgotten, we believe you can rebuild your life and we are here to help you do that."
Come next September, help and healing will be available to child sex trafficking victims in Texas. "These children deserve that, I believe they deserve that, and as a community, we need to take responsibility for it," says Cynthia Borsellino.
The Refuge's Steven Phenix talks about child sex trafficking issues, The Refuge's Groundbreaking and future plans to help child survivors.
Will the arrest of's CEO have any impact upon the number of children who are sex trafficked online? KXAN-TV asks APD and The Refuge for our opinions. Plus there's news at the end of the segment regarding the upcoming groundbreaking for The Refuge Ranch.
Brooke Crowder, The Refuge's Founder & Executive Director, talks with KTBC-FOX about the current lack of resources in Texas for child sex trafficking victims and the upcoming beLydia Gathering on August 13th. For more information go to or
You can still help the child survivors of sex trafficking -- it's easy to text a donation. On your phone, start a new text to 41444, then type in the message "BTHE1" and hit send. You'll be able to enter your card information on your phone and any amount you feel like donating.
If you missed the Good Friday service at the Frank Erwin Center you can still join in on this fight! "I want people to get passionate about this fight because there is nothing more evil than our children being caught up in sex slavery," said Kevin Malone, former GM of the LA Dodgers and Executive Director of Protect the P.A.T.H.

Brooke Crowder from The Refuge talks with KXAN about the growing crime of child sex trafficking in United States.

"Hard to face, tough to talk about, but it's true. There are women and children being sold for sex in our communities. And for those who are able to escape there really are not a lot of options. But there will soon be one more. Today was the groundbreaking for The Refuge Ranch."

The Refuge, a new place of rest and restoration for child sex trafficking breaks ground.
KTBC-FOX asks The Refuge's Brooke Crowder to comment on the Texas Attorney General's new unit to combat human trafficking across the state.

Brooke Crowder from The Refuge talks with KXAN about the growing crime of child sex trafficking in United States.