Site icon Kathryn McClatchy

Shining the Light on #ModernSlavery

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know that ending human-trafficking is a cause I am passionate about. Perhaps you wonder why this cause haunts me. Today seems like the right day to share what I have witnessed.

My family moved to Kerrville, Texas in 1984. I was about to be a sophomore in high school. A few months earlier, the Texas Rangers uncovered what would be known as the Texas Slave Ranch, owned by the Ellebracht family near Mountain Home, TX. Many members of our church were Texas Rangers and Texas State Troopers who were responsible for collecting the evidence. I first heard of this in the local news, but got more intimate details from my friends at school and youth group whose parents were among the law enforcement tasked with searching the ranch.

The trial was took place in Kerrville, in 1986, the summer before my senior year. All through high school I planned to become an attorney. It took a lot of explaining and debating on my part, but my parents finally agreed to allow me to spend my summer–when I wasn’t working at the local HEB grocery store or insurance agency–attending court. I had sat through other criminal court cases, but nothing could have prepared me for this experience.

You can google the facts of the case if you are interested, but here’s what has stuck with me for thirty years:


Today is the fourth annual #EndItMovement day to “Shine a Light on Slavery.” I have listed many organizations, and cheered the many positive reports, on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Per the #EndItMovement website this morning, they have raised over $4M to support efforts to end human-trafficking. Please check out their website to learn more about this evil that currently enslaves an estimated 23-45 million people globally. There is still so much work to do on behalf of those enslaved and forced into labor or the sex trade. What if it was your child?

We now call it human-trafficking rather than slavery, as if giving it a cleaner name makes it more humane. This plague is not limited to gender, ethnicity, demographics, education, or country of origin. Human-trafficking, modern slavery, is an epidemic in our neighborhoods, our country, and internationally.

Please do your own research, be aware of your surroundings in school, in airports, in hospitals—the clues are all around us. Too many people in Mountain Home realized what was happening on that ranch, but too late for so many young lives, too late for their families.

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”    ~~William Wilberforce

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