Common Thread Grows Its Advocacy in Houston, Texas

With office in Waco, Killeen, and San Antonio, Texas, Common Thread adds Houston to their list! With a multi-disciplary team to advocate for individuals who have been exposed to human trafficking.

BCFS Health and Human Services Residential Services Division’s (RSD) newest program, Common Thread, is expanding! In the first week of 2018, Common Thread has been named the advocacy agency to work alongside partner organizations in Houston, Texas, in working to help survivors recover from experience with human trafficking.

In late 2017 in central and south Texas, Common Thread began administering programs, services, and advocacy in response to the alarming and unfortunately underreported crime of child sex trafficking. Common Thread provides immediate, flexible, and relationship-focused services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for domestic and foreign survivors of child sex trafficking under the age of 25. The program helps survivors by offering immediate in-field response when victims are identified, intensive case management, and long-term mentorship.

Offices began operating in Waco, Killeen, and San Antonio, Texas, and—after an invitation from the Office of the Governor to present Common Thread’s unique spectrum of services and staff—will soon be operating in tandem with the Houston-area’s Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) to advocate for individuals who have been exposed to the scourge of human trafficking.

“Our Common Thread team, led by RSD’s National Director Susan Rosas, presented to 15 stakeholders to explain what Common Thread’s services would resemble in Houston,” explains Sonya Thompson, Executive Director for BCFS Health and Human Services’ Residential Services Division.

“After lots of discussion and a final vote,” she says, “the MDT voted for Common Thread to be their Houston advocacy program. The vote of confidence is a true testament to the extraordinary work this team is doing in our Texas communities.”

Currently, Common Thread collaborates with other agencies in a 26-county area in central Texas to build a proactive and mobile team that works toward becoming an ally for children and youth who have been through some of the darkest recesses of human trafficking. Common Thread employs a mobile approach to its advocacy to help a survivor build critical trusting relationships with their advocate, even if the survivor continuously relocates as part of his or her recovery.

“We already know that children are at a heightened risk to be trafficked, or re-victimized, when they have had a history of broken relationships,” said Rosas in 2017. “Common Thread aims to support survivor recovery by building long-term positive adult relationships, modeled first by Common Thread advocates, and then replicated for each child in his or her community. Evidence shows that survivors often have a complex and transient recovery, and we are honored to operate the first program in Texas that can flex with them. We’re with our clients, no matter what.”

Common Thread’s teamwork model includes trainings and action plans for agencies to ensure consistent quality improvement of service delivery.

Common Thread welcomes volunteers and interns. If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please email commonthread@bcfs.net. To refer someone 21 years old or younger who may have been the victim of human trafficking—to include sexual exploitation, survival sex, and other forms of commercial sex—in the United States, call the 24/7 Common Thread hotline at 1-888-8THREAD. For information, visit www.commonthread.net.

 
Common Thread is overseen by Asennet Segura, BCFS Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer–Community, International & Residential Operations, and BCFS Health and Human Services Residential Services Division personnel, including Sonya Thompson, Executive Director; Susan Rosas, National Director; Graciela Gomez, National Operations Manager; Irasema Resendez, National Partnerships Manager; and Eyra Montemayor, Program Director

BCFS Names Segura and Tatro Co-Chief Operating Officers

BCFS, a global system of six separate 501c3 non-profit organizations, has named Asennet Segura EVP/COO – Community, International & Residential Operations, and Kari Tatro EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations for the growing system headquartered in San Antonio.

Photo: Asennet Segura

Segura has been with the organization for more than 18 years, and as EVP/COO of Community, International & Residential Operations she will oversee all aspects of the agency’s residential system. This encompasses emergency shelters for children who have been abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families; foster care and adoption services; medical services; early childhood education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Since joining the organization in 1997, Segura has been one of the chief drivers of the growth and expansion within the agency, overseeing the development and implementation of significant programs from coast-to-coast and around the world.

Photo: Kari TatroKari Tatro is an 8-year veteran with the BCFS system and one of the nation’s foremost experts on inclusionary planning to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs during disasters. As EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations, Tatro will oversee several internal agency functions including information technology, resource and asset management, procurement, property management, and personnel learning and development. Tatro will also manage multiple external-facing programs including BCFS Education Services, which provides early education services to ready young learners for academic achievement and success in school, as well as BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division – a national leader and partner of local, state and federal government entities in preparedness and response efforts.

Under Tatro’s guidance and supervision, the agency maintains a multidisciplinary all-hazards Incident Management Team comprised of more than 200 highly-trained and experienced emergency management personnel throughout the nation, a 200-person Disaster Medical Staffing Team and a 250-person Disaster Case Management Team. Additionally, Tatro provides oversight of disaster response resources and assetts including a robust fleet of emergency response vehicles ready to deploy at a moment’s notice with two state-of-the-art mobile command platforms, medical mobile units, shelter support units, advanced satellite communications and cellular equipment, and a massive supply of cached resources warehoused by BCFS EMD with an exceptional logistical supply chain to meet all incident needs.

“When an organization is as far-reaching as BCFS, operating in high-stakes environments on a daily basis, ensuring continuity of operations and quality control is not just critical, it’s a no-fail charge. That is the level of commitment, management and leadership Segura and Tatro bring to the table every day, 24/7,” said Kevin Dinnin, President and CEO of BCFS. “Both of these individuals take an ‘owner’s attitude’ in everything they do and have a proven ability to manage complex programs, a large workforce, sizable budgets, and – most importantly – they have my full trust and confidence in their ability to manage and guide our organization.”


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.