National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888 Or use the textline: Text "BeFree" (233733)

The Red Cord is Southwest Oklahoma's Anti Human Trafficking Organization

Foster Care Awareness Month

How can you change Carrie’s story?


This month Carrie* will turn 18. While most teenagers celebrate that age as the time they start to enter adulthood, for Carrie, that means she will be too old to stay in the foster care system. Friends in her high school (the fifth high school she has attended), will graduate in a few weeks. Not Carrie. She doesn’t know what the future holds. The family she is with this time seems to genuinely care for her. Not all the families she has lived with since she was 10 years old have been this caring. Some have been abusive and she quickly found herself in another house. Soon, Carrie knows she won’t be in this home anymore. Or anyone’s home. She isn’t ready for this.

Carrie represents only one of the 7,800 children in Oklahoma this past year who have a foster care story.


What could happen to Carrie? Because she has been in the foster care system, she is automatically vulnerable. She could be one of the 60% of children lured into sex trafficking.

Jacquetta Lenhardt, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Southwest Oklahoma, describes what could happen to Carrie.  “Children from foster homes are vulnerable because of instability. Because she doesn’t know whom to trust. She has experienced trauma because she doesn’t have a stable home.  Children are looking for acceptance. They feel abandoned. Traffickers know this about foster home children. They know where to find them. They know where to search for them on the internet. They lure them with the promise that they will always be there to take care of them.”

How can you change Carrie’s story?


Jacquetta says you can train to be a CASA worker. You can learn how to build trust and friendship with a child and find out if harm is coming to a child in the foster care system. Learn more  


She also says to foster parents or those close to foster families, “Children want to know they are loved, valued, have worth, and are important. They need to know about the dangers of trafficking. You can be one of the people who say, ‘I will not let her story end this way.”

*Representative name.

Voices from the Past

During this Women’s History month, let’s honor the women, past and present, who give voice to the cause of freedom. From the time of slavery in America, you remember the name of Harriet Tubman, but another woman with the same first name you may not know is Harriet Jacobs. This fascinating woman from North Carolina endured slavery and sexual harassment. She escaped but stayed hidden in horrible conditions for seven years. Over time, she finally gained her freedom, began a school and wrote her powerful autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861, that detailed her life and captured the horror of slavery for so many.

Sounding the Message Today


Slavery continues today, although it looks much different. Women make up 49% of all trafficking victims. Additionally, girls make up 23% of the total number. Sexual exploitation has a global share of 59%, followed by forced labor (34%). In the past 15 years, women and girls together represent more than 70% of the identified trafficking victims. (Source: UN)


For nearly six years, Rebecca Bender was trapped in the dark, violent world of sex trafficking. When she escaped her trafficker, she knew she wanted to fight to change culture and offer hope to survivors, so she launched Elevate Academy. It is currently the largest online school for human trafficking survivors in the world. She works closely with the Oregon Department of Justice and is a leading voice in the fight against trafficking nationally. Find out more about Rebecca:


Being Fierce and Free Today


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Want To Set The Record Straight?

The Red Cord strives to be Oklahoma’s thought leader on Human Trafficking. We demystify common misconceptions so you can have confidence you’re spreading the right information.

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A Message From Cindy Evans, The Founder of The Red Cord

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"
Martin Luther King JR

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