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Our Story

The development of a place where child survivors of sex trafficking can find safety, and have access to the proper therapeutic services for healing from the trauma they’ve endured, has been a long-time passion of our Founder and Executive Director, Brooke Crowder.  Upon moving to Austin in 2010, she discovered many others with the same passion. With strategic relationships built in her international work with survivors and others in the movement to end trafficking, along with strong community will and leadership in Austin,  The Refuge for DMST was launched in November 2013. The primary purpose of The Refuge for DMST is to develop The Refuge Ranch, a long-term therapeutic ranch just outside the city of Austin, with on-site comprehensive services for girls, ages11-17, who are survivors of sex trafficking.  

Our Story is the story of a community reaching out to the broken-hearted, the weak and weary, and the one who feels forgotten, in order to bring HOPE for a new life free from violence and exploitation. The Story of The Refuge reflects God's story to all of us: God rescues us from darkness, restores our hearts through His healing love, and brings redemption to our lives for purpose and freedom, rather than captivity and despair.

Our Story

The development of a place where child survivors of sex trafficking can find safety, and have access to the proper therapeutic services for healing from the trauma they’ve endured, has been a long-time passion of our Founder and Executive Director, Brooke Crowder.  Upon moving to Austin in 2010, she discovered many others with the same passion. With strategic relationships built in her international work with survivors and others in the movement to end trafficking, along with strong community will and leadership in Austin,  The Refuge for DMST was launched in November 2013. The primary purpose of The Refuge for DMST is to develop The Refuge Ranch, a long-term therapeutic ranch just outside the city of Austin, with on-site comprehensive services for girls, minors through age 19, who are survivors of sex trafficking.  

Our Story is the story of a community reaching out to the broken-hearted, the weak and weary, and the one who feels forgotten, in order to bring HOPE for a new life free from violence and exploitation. The Story of The Refuge reflects God's story to all of us: God rescues us from darkness, restores our hearts through His healing love, and brings redemption to our lives for purpose and freedom, rather than captivity and despair.

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM

A Nationwide snapshot …

Over 100,000 U.S. born children are trafficked each year within our own borders for the purpose of being sold for sex.  The average age a young girl is lured into the web of trafficking is 12.  The harsh reality is that this happens to girls across all socio-economic, racial, educational and family backgrounds.  The primary factor that makes a girl vulnerable to being trafficked is her age.  Sex Trafficking of children is a supply and demand phenomena, with the internet being the primary way transactions are made to purchase a young child for sex.

Closer to home…

Currently, there are 47,000 children reported as missing each year in the state of Texas.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 1 in 5 missing children are or will become human trafficking victims.  In addition, as the crime of sex trafficking of children is gaining wider attention, and organizations already working in the juvenile justice system are able to more efficiently identify children who are victims, the number of children needing specialized services for the trauma of sex trafficking is growing.  However, there are currently only a handful of places in the United States in which these children can receive the kind of services they need.