New Friends New Life (NFNL) restores and empowers formerly trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women, including their children, by providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit human beings for labor or commercial sex. Currently, Texas ranks 2nd in the country for the most human trafficking with $99 million spent each year on sex trade in North Texas alone. NFNL focuses on the issue of domestic sex trafficking which by law means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion or any of these acts performed by someone under 18. There are an estimated 400 trafficked teens on the streets each night in Dallas, contributing to the 100,000 children that are trafficked each year in the United States. The majority of those being trafficked are poor and have already suffered violence and abuse throughout life. Many victims of trafficking have learned not to feel in order to survive the exploitation and abuse they have endured and do not immediately seek help but through continued trust-building and patient interviewing to get the whole story, these women can begin developing their new lives.
The services and resources offered by the non-profit include counseling, support groups, the Children’s Academic Program, financial assistance, budget coaching, life-skills and parenting training, education programs, second chance jobs, and spiritual support, all are geared toward rehabilitation. A soul healing and faith-based program is dedicated to mentoring and affirming members of their inner strength and courage by developing the skill of self-compassion. The comprehensive program is offered to more than 1,200 formerly trafficked teens, women, and their children each year including women and teens that are currently incarcerated.
During the month of January, the NFNL organization was highlighted on the Ruthie’s food trucks and social media. The Ruthie’s crew delivered delicious grilled cheese sandwiches to the kindhearted and dedicated staff of the non-profit. Volunteer Manager, Melany Vargas mentioned how the staff works “day in and day out to handle all sorts of hurdles that come up for the members who are working hard to overcome their past trauma, survive in their present situation and plan for a better future.” Some of the program members were served grilled cheese sandwiches from the food truck during one of their educational training classes as well. Melany expresses how “Ruthie’s food is so delicious and it’s a luxury our members don’t often get to have, so for them to be able to order from the truck and get some truly mouthwatering food is really awesome to watch.” The members or clients of the program are truly committed to changing their lifestyle by living within a budget, remaining drug and alcohol free, and attending training to gain the education and skills needed for a future job. After graduating, clients still have access to support services and leadership opportunities for life. None of this would be possible without the devotion of the supportive staff and advocates of NFNL who provide a careful and empathetic approach to restore and empower the lives of their members.
There are many ways to join the mission of helping women and teens escape the degradation of sexually oriented businesses to build new lives for themselves and their children. NFNL depends on volunteers, their Circle of Friends, local businesses and partners, advocacy groups, and interns to achieve the purpose of the organization. The non-profit is always looking for opportunities to bring awareness to the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and the real-world struggles of sex trafficking in the United States through speaking engagements. Visit the NFNL website for more information about how to help women and children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities.