Penny for Your Consideration - The Bend Magazine

Penny for Your Consideration

Coastal Bend companies are coming together in the fight against human trafficking

Published in TB Business Magazine by Robin Alvarez photos by Dustin Ashcraft

January is usually a time for resolutions and a fresh start, but for those in the fight against human trafficking, it’s also a time to breducate, learn and heal. brJanuary is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention brMonth. Minta Moore is the founder of New Life Refuge Ministries br(NLRM), whose three-part mission is grounded in education, partnerships brand refuge. NLRM provides long-term shelter for girls ages 11-17 who are brsurvivors of sex trafficking. NLRM is passionately dedicated to prevention brand awareness education for Corpus Christi. Since NLRM began, it has brprovided more than 18,500 people with education, and has served 17 brgirls in its refuge home since it opened in 2018.
It has hundreds of partners in various capacities, from faith to brfinance partners, who play an invaluable role in the fight against human brtrafficking. Businesses from an array of industries participate, including brValero Energy, Braselton Homes, JM Supply Company, Taggart Motor brCo., SouthPoint Rentals and IMC Bank—to name just a few.
Kevin Lassahn, Vice President and General Manager of Valero Corpus brChristi Refineries, shares the passion behind supporting this cause. br“At Valero, we are driven to make a difference in our community,” said brLassahn. “A few years back, we met the team at New Life Refuge Ministries, which has done the wonderful, brbut difficult, job of shedding brlight on an ugly topic to discuss brhuman trafficking. We are proud brto support this organization that bris offering comfort and shelter for brsurvivors to help them recover brand transform their lives.”
Another Corpus Christi brbusiness making an impact is brSusann’s Custom Jewelers, which brcreated Courage Coins out of brpennies. Morgan Bartel, Graduate brGemologist and Bench Jeweler at brSusann’s, explains the initiative to brraise funds and awareness.
“Pennies are typically brforgotten, tossed aside and brconsidered not worth the effort. brThe penny represents another brhuman life that someone has brforgotten, tossed aside and brfound not worth the effort. Just brlike the penny, every human brlife has value,” said Bartel. “The brtransformation that we perform brwith these forgotten coins is to brshow how with a little help, even brsomething that most had given brup on can once again start a new brlife and shine brighter than ever.”
Moore and her team are brpassionate about meeting with brbusinesses of any industry to brshare education about human brtrafficking. “Human trafficking brcrosses paths in every industry, brfrom tech to car rental companies brto hotels,” Moore explained. “It brcan be recognized by people brservicing homes—such as electric, brinternet and cable technicians. brThey need to know what the signs brare, such as deadbolts on rooms, mattresses all over the living brroom floor or video equipment brset up.”
Recognizing the signs brof trafficking is one of the brimportant steps that individuals brand businesses can take to help brin the fight against it. “Human brtrafficking is truly a crime that’s brhidden in plain sight,” said Moore. br“But once you know it, you can’t brunsee it and can’t un-know it.”

New Life Refuge Ministriesbr 361.946.6331