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Ministry Highlight: The Refuge

The Refuge for DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) has a very specific mission: To provide trauma-informed, long-term restoration shelter and services to girls 11-17 years old who have been exploited through sex trafficking.

The Problem

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 to transact the purchase of a young child for sex.

The Response

The Refuge for DMST’s response is The Refuge Ranch, a facility which will provide long-term, holistic care in a pastoral and peaceful setting for girls ages 11-17 who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. Each girl will have her own plan of restoration, which is called her Circle of Care. It will be unique to her age, situation and needs. The girls are housed in distinctively-designed cottages that not only provide safety and security, but also a sense of family and community.

The Provision

Brooke Crowder, Founder and Executive Director of The Refuge recently stated,

“The Refuge is pleased that we have partnered with WaterStone to help us facilitate “gifting” from our supporters. Our initial need centered around the ability to receive a gift of publicly-traded stock from one of our donors. WaterStone quickly opened an account for us and the stock gift was received and liquidated without any issues. Those funds are now available for our use at any time.

That worked so seamlessly that we plan to expand our use of WaterStone's capabilities in the area of structuring gifts, including complex assets (non-traditional gifts) such as gifts of real estate, business interests, and charitable annuities.

We will also be working with WaterStone to help us educate our supporters and donors of the full range of giving strategies. These additional gifts will propel us to fulfill our mission of ministering to children who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. Creative and significant options for funding are critical to our ability to support and care for the children in our care.”

The Reason Why

The Refuge for DMST believes that each girl in their care is created by God for a special purpose and that part of her life story is that she is a survivor of sex trafficking. They also believe every girl has the ability to create a new life for herself as she is encircled with the support and love necessary to begin the healing process. Every survivor of sex trafficking has the potential to be a change agent in this world, and to become a leader in her generation and a champion in the fight to eradicate the insidious crime of sexual exploitation of children.

To learn more, visit www.therefugeaustin.org.

The Refuge for DMST is a featured WaterStone Kingdom Program. Click here to give to this ministry through your WaterStone Giving Fund.

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