Lisa Knapp identified an alarming problem that, while existing worldwide, is also happening right here in Austin and our central Texas communities – domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). In April, she gathered “20” of her friends and hosted a fundraising luncheon to raise funds for an organization that was providing help for victims of DMST. Thus, the Austin 20 was born. $165,000 was raised for The Refuge DMST, financing the first cottage for girls in treatment.
A second annual luncheon was held in April of 2018, raising funds for another organization supporting victims of DMST, S.A.F.E. Alliance. $100,000 was raised in support of the new CARES program, which provides 24/7 advocates for trafficked girls. Additionally, another $85,000 was raised and used to support other organizations and their programs that aid in the fight against DMST: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Texas Juvenile Justice Division (TJJD), the Governor’s Sex Trafficking Team. $15,000 was used to fund legal representation for an incarcerated DMST victim who was serving 20 years for her part in a murder that was carried out by her traffickers. Her case won an appeal, and she was later freed from prison. As the need for support for survivors of DMST became even more apparent, The Austin 20's informal status was changed as The Texas 20 (dba The Austin 20) was established as a legal entity and an application was submitted to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status.
The third annual fundraising luncheon was held in April to raise general funds for The Austin 20,
with “Nicole’s Place – an initiative of The Austin 20” being the primary beneficiary of the funds raised. $230,000 was raised to “Raise the Roof on Nicole’s Place.” An additional $497,000 was raised In November through the Austin 20’s first gala event, “An Evening for Nicole’s Place". A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Nicole’s Place was held in December for the first two cabins. In addition to building and supporting Nicole’s Place, The Austin 20 continues to support other organizations that provide services along the continuum of care for DMST victims and survivors.
The two cabins at Nicole’s Place were finished out and furnished, and, in August, Nicole’s Place began receiving girls at its location in southwest Austin. Two more legal battles were won for DMST survivors, funded by The Austin 20. With COVID-19 a part of life, The Austin 20 was unable to host any in-person fundraising events. Instead, an email campaign was launched in November.
The Austin 20 is looking to expand Nicole’s Place in size and scope. More space will be built allowing the current Nicole’s Place to provide short-term residential treatment to more survivors. In addition, The Austin 20 is working to develop a new Nicole's Place (North) in Williamson County that could operate as a Stabilization and Assessment Center for DMST victims in addition to providing short term residential care.
Your support will allow The Austin 20 to continue to provide more and better support for sex-trafficked youth. You will be a big part of the solution to the horrendous crime of DMST.
The Austin 20 is a group of community leaders, activists, and caring individuals who take action to fight against Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) in our city and surrounding areas.
We provide funding and support for programs associated with all aspects of this horrendous crime and those victimized by it including: awareness and education, legislative support that fights against DMST and provides assistance for victims and survivors, recovery efforts, mentoring and rehabilitation, and support of other organizations’ work to fill gaps in the continuum of care for those victimized by DMST.
To learn more, please join our email list or contact us by phone.
The Austin 20 Board of Directors
Brenda Adkinson – President
Stephanie Fast – Treasurer
Mary Healy – President Emeritus
Lisa Knapp – Founder
Nicole’s Place Board of Directors
Brenda Adkinson - President
Dave Knapp – Founder
Stephanie Land – Secretary
Michael Loo, President and CEO of Upbring
Founding Members of The Texas 20 DBA The Austin 20