On 7/28/2020, Renee Encinias, Program Director for the Hope Rising Organization spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club about her organization and child sex trafficking. Pictured above is Renee Encinias.
Renee explained that she has been working in the child welfare field since 1997. It was intended to be a stepping stone, but God quickly revealed that this was what she was meant to be doing. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of children and families. She feels like God’s plan for her is to leave this world a better place than she found it. With that in mind, she tries to plant seeds with each child, and with each family that will help them in their journey. She is a certified Trust Based Relational Intervention practitioner and is responsible for training staff and foster parents in their ground-breaking technique for understanding and working with children coming to them from hard places.
The mission of the Hope Rising Organization is to provide long-term care and recovery for minor children who have been rescued from human sex trafficking and exploitation.  Hope Rising is committed to instilling hope, offering a future to these minors, and fostering wholeness and healing.
Renee explained the Hope Rising is:
  • a non-profit 501c3, faith based child placing agency
  • an anti-human sex trafficking organization
  • dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation & long term care restoration of minors and youth
  • providing trauma-informed care for survivors of sexual abuse, trafficking & exploitation
Renee than provided a list of the programs that Hope Rising provides:
  • a safe and peaceful specialized foster family home
  • trauma-informed equine therapy
  • life skills and health and wellness program
  • clothing and personal care items if needed
  • charter school education with tutoring
  • counseling with a licensed mental health professional
  • case management
  • mentorship with trained mentors
  • trust based relational intervention
Renee then provided a legal definition of exactly what sex trafficking is:
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
  • Any person who has not attained 18 years of age can not legally consent to any sex act.
Renee then told everyone that the FBI estimates sex trafficking in the U.S. involves 100,000 children and that 60% of child sex trafficking victims recovered through FBI raids across the U.S. in 2013 were from foster care or group homes. Renee also indicated that the Texas statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project estimated that more than 300,000 people were victims of human trafficking, and 79,000 were minors and youths subjected to sexual trafficking. She also pointed out that over 1,080 human trafficking cases have been reported this year.
Renee told everyone that the Hope Rising Organization is currently working to open an Emergency Assessment Center and Temporary Housing in what use to be housing for Catholic Nuns in New Caney, Texas. The new unit has about 20 bedrooms that can be used for housing needs.
Renee pointed out that they use faith based counselors but religion is never forced on any person. Every child under their care is assigned a mentor who is there to help guide and help them in their journey back to a normal life.
Renee also told everyone how important equine therapy is in getting abused children to learn how to trust someone. It helps build up their trust and caring first for the horse which can then lead to trusting other humans.
Renee then told everyone about a special film put out by the Texas government that talks about sex trafficking and how an individual can help. The link to the film is: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/cjd/child-sex-trafficking-recognize
Renee then provided a number of links that can be useful for anyone looking for help or just awareness of human trafficking. She gave out the following contact information for anyone wanting to learn more about Hope Rising or wanting to contact her:
  • Hope Rising Web Site: https://hoperisingtexas.org/
  • Email for Renee: renee@hoperisingfostercare.org
  • Facebook: @hoperisingministries
  • Instagram: #hoperisingtx
  • Twitter: @hoperising.tx
A photo of those in attendance can be seen below: