CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — You may want to help someone who is in danger of sex trafficking or who lives in an abusive household but may not know how to spot a child in danger.
The Coastal Bend chapter of the Children’s Center Inc. is hoping to help kids in danger by using the National Safe Place’s sticker and placing them on businesses willing to help the child out.
The Children’s Center, Inc. is training businesses on how to spot a child who may be part of sex trafficking or someone who is in danger of abuse.
The Crown Jewel, a salon in Corpus Christi, is a part of the program and has the bright yellow sticker prominently displayed on its front window.
“These children are maybe very hopeless and don’t feel like there’s anyone that’s going to help them or any way to escape,” Starla Joslin, the owner of the salon, said.
The Children’s Center, Inc. said the child’s situation doesn’t have to be as extreme as being sex-trafficked; their situation could include running away from a complicated household.
“It basically tells the kids in the community that if they’re in trouble or that they’re at risk or they are running away from something or someone is trying to harm them…that they can come to this place,” said Ivonne Cadena, the Coastal Bend Children’s Center, Inc.’s case manager and victim advocate.
The organization helps kids out with services like a temporary shelter and meal and also offers tutoring.
“Maybe they’re having some issues communicating with their family and they just need some reunification or family counseling or something to that effect or it could be something as extreme as someone being human trafficked,” Cadena said.
The organization targets businesses like salons where sex-traffickers bring kids to get dressed up and other places like coffee shops where kids tend to hang out.
Mickey Saldana is one of Joslin’s clients and was a former at-risk child herself. She said she used to work with kids that were at-risk because she was once in their shoes.
“I was the leader of a gang and also I dealt drugs and did drugs," Saldana said. "I knew what it was like to feel stuck."
Saldana said that as a young kid, she wished she had a place to go like the Crown Jewel to get help from the Children Center’s Inc.
Joslin wants her business to be the safe place kids can go to if they ever need help. She said that she’s learned to better spot the signs ever since she was approached by the Children’s Center Inc.
“There have been some things ever since she did come that’s made us be more on our toes with conversations that we’re hearing between our clients, actually, that have made us think twice,” Joslin said.
She said she is an advocate for victims because sometimes they don’t have anywhere to go and her business might be the only place that they can go to.
“I’m grateful that maybe my salon can change some lives,” Joslin said.
You can find the participating places on the Children’s Center Inc.’s Facebook page here.