Baylor alumna leading the fight against human trafficking
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with more than 40 million victims worldwide — and its happening in communities all across the globe, including right here in Texas.
Baylor alumna Susan Peters, BA ’86, has made it her mission to put an end to it. After witnessing exploitation and injustice while overseas serving with her church, Peters founded anti-human trafficking organization UnBound here in Waco in 2012.
“Knowing that traffickers target the vulnerable in our community, we want to get out in front of human trafficking, equipping our community to prevent it from happening,” Peters says. “Unbound educates and empowers youth, spreads awareness through citywide outreaches, and provides human trafficking presentations to groups and organizations within our communities.”
Since UnBound’s founding, Peters and her team — including multiple other Baylor alumni — have traveled around the world to promote prevention and awareness of human trafficking, offer professional training, and to support trafficking survivors. In her role as executive director, Peters oversees all UnBound locations, as the organization has grown beyond its original Central Texas focus. UnBound now has four Texas offices (Waco, Houston, Fort Worth, and Bryan/College Station), plus two other U.S. centers (Southern California and Phoenix) and four international locations (South Africa, Indonesia, Mongolia and Cambodia).
“Our community partners have made the work possible,” Peters said. “Law enforcement, government officials, social service providers, medical community, educators, CPS, the juvenile justice system and more have to work together to identify, serve, defend and restore victims and survivors.”
In addition to educating communities about the dangers of human trafficking, UnBound also works to rehabilitate survivors, helping them re-acclimate to the world, find housing, attain their GEDs, and much more. To date, the organization has helped more than 400 victims.
“Our first priority is to secure the safety of our victims. Once that is established, long-term, safe housing is identified, and health screenings are conducted,” Peters explains. “I am proud of our advocates when they show up at the hospital in the middle of the night and sit with a survivor, or when they accompany a survivor to court or take them to doctor appointments or help empower them to make decisions for themselves.”
UnBound has grown to become a national leader in helping those affected by human trafficking, as growing numbers of communities across the country have reached out for guidance in joining the fight — and it all began right here at Baylor.
“Baylor provided a solid foundation for me through a great education informed by a Christian perspective,” Peters says. “I learned how to lead at Baylor, with challenging courses and extracurricular activities.”
Sic ’em, Susan Peters and UnBound!