KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Restoration House of Greater Kansas City is taking new steps to help children who are involved in the sex trafficking industry.
The nonprofit has operated a home for adult women since 2015, and now organizers want to branch out to serve young children as well.
“We want to start with 10 (teens) that we can serve at a time," said September Trible, executive director of Restoration House. "We also are looking at a 72-hour emergency model so that we can have a few more come through that because that’s one of the big gap areas where there’s not a lot of services available."
Trible said there are thousands of people involved in the commercial sex industry in Kansas City alone.
“According to a recent study completed by a now UMKC professor, there are nearly 3,500 adult victims in the greater Kansas City area, and that’s based on the data from only 11 law enforcement agencies," Trible said. "And then the renewal forum out of Washington D.C. estimates that we have about 2,650 minors each year being sexually exploited in the greater Kansas City area."
Restoration House has to turn away at least one to two minors a week because their current home is for adults only. She’s expects the new home being renovated right now to open by the end of summer 2018.
“We’re very excited, knowing that as much as we wish there was no need for this home, there is, and as long as there’s a need for this home we’ll be there,” Trible said.
Both homes are funded through donations and a few grants, along with proceeds from a unique store.
“Rehope Market is an online resale boutique that specifically benefits Restoration House," said Kristin Spilker, manager of Rehope Market. "All of the proceeds from the sales go directly to support the hope and healing and development of the women."
Clothes in their warehouse are posted online and sold to raise money for their growing mission. Women in the current program are a large part of the boutiques success.
“Part of the goal of Rehope Market is to give them some business skills and some resume building opportunities,” Spilker said.
They volunteer in the shop and pick up valuable life skills in the process.
“We go through, and we sort the clothing, so you’re learning excellent standards and quality control and communication skills, customer service skills,” Spilker said.
She said for customers, shopping at Rehope Market is about much more than scoring nice and affordable clothing.
“Just shopping with a purpose and knowing that your purchase is actually making a specific difference in a life,” she said.