Launching a Beacon of Hope

January 19, 2022

We make sense of the world through stories. They inspire, memorialize, organize, and communicate important truths. As a friend says, “We are the stories we tell.”

Today we’re publishing a special story. It’s a true story about human trafficking, but not one you’ve likely heard before.

This is a story about how data is reshaping the movement to end human trafficking, and the network of everyday Texans driving it.

The story stretches from the banks of the Rio Grande and the streets of Laredo to the halls of power at the State Capitol in Austin. The most compelling part of this project was hearing the personal stories of the people we have the distinct honor to call partners in this work.  

People like Bryn, meeting a victim for the first time at a gas station. Or Helen, coordinating care for a trafficked 16-year-old who just gave birth. Or Judge Mireles, presiding over cases in her child protection court.    

It’s because of them that this story is called A Beacon of Hope.

As you read, perhaps you’ll see yourself somewhere in this story. At the very least, I’ll know you’ll be inspired by the compassion and audacity of the characters you meet.

I believe we each have the opportunity to protect freedom and dignity. This is our collective story, and you are invited to be a character. What part will you play?



Prologue: The Backstory

How Texas began to prioritize combatting sex trafficking at scale, and the quest to develop a tech tool to identify victims, coordinate care, and see trends in data.

Chapter 1: Identifying Victims

How a children’s advocacy center in Edinburg and a victim’s crisis center in Abilene made identifying and protecting victims of sex trafficking a priority.

Chapter 2: Coordinating Care

How a diverse cast of characters in Bexar County collaborate to create harmony out of chaos for survivors.

Chapter 3: Understanding Trends

How leaders are new gaining insights from complex data to inform on-the-ground programs and statewide solutions.

Epilogue: Moving Forward

How Lighthouse is leveraging the power of prediction to prevent sex trafficking in communities across Texas and beyond.

Editor’s Note

After diving deep into the movement to end sex trafficking in Texas, Jake Rutherford shares what gives him hope.