Someone 2 Know; The Houk Family - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know; The Houk Family

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Human trafficking - including child sex trafficking - is an international problem.  When a northern Nevada family learned it was also happening here, they decided to do something about it.

We caught up with 9-year-old William Houk and his parents during their first visit to Awaken’s resource center in Reno for victims of sex trafficking.  The home-schooler first learned about the problem watching the news with his mom.

"And they did a segment about modern slavery,” explains William’s mom, Jessica Houk “and he was really upset about what he saw and he wanted to do something about it”

The home-schooler decided he could raise money for the cause by selling brownies.

"He first started by talking to our pastor and asking our pastor if he could have a bake sale at church and she said yes," says Jessica.

Dad, Will, was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive support they received;

"We thought maybe he'll raise $100 or $200 doing a simple little bake sale, and the people at church really responded."

They brought in $500 that first weekend. The Houk family was inspired and upped the fundraising goal to $2,000, which they also surpassed. William also posted a video online explaining the facts about human trafficking.

"When we get people like William, who, we've just seen in our country, lately, the mobilization of the youth - and when they advocate and rally around an issue, they're unstoppable,” says Melissa Holland, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Awaken.

Awaken is a Reno organization that combats trafficking and helps victims and survivors. The non-profit received half of the money raised by William. 

 "I can't tell you how much joy he's brought to our staff and just to the people that are in sometimes a really discouraging scenario,” Holland explains with a big smile.

William’s mom and dad say they’ve also learned a lot in the process;

"We're just really - I'm just really proud of how much - his big heart - and how much he saw a problem and wanted to do something about it."

The other half of the money William and the Houk family raised went to an international group called Free the Slaves. To learn more about human trafficking here and across the globe, check out ?Polaris Project.

To see William’s video, click here.

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