KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Human trafficking is a crisis around the world, and it is happening right here in Kansas City.
According to the human trafficking hotline, in 2019 there were over 300 reported cases of trafficking in Kansas and Missouri. Experts say that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, they believe there are thousands of cases that are never reported.
Rended Heart, a Nonprofit organization based in Kansas City, helps women who have been trafficked. They provide housing, food, clothing, and skills training so that victims can reclaim their life.
Their housing facility has been full for months and they are looking to expand. Denise Lester, the founder of Rended Heart, host a Summit to help raise awareness and money on Sunday, August 30.
The Summit featured experts, celebrities, professional sports players, and Government officials.
Alison Phillips, the Executive Director of the Missouri Human Trafficking task force, spoke at the summit. She has devoted her life to fighting human trafficking because she has experienced its effects.
“Began when I was six years old. My childhood friend who lives just around the corner from me was being sexually abused by her grandfather, and I knew this because she acted out her abuse on me,” said Phillips.
Chimene Van Gundy known nationally as the “mobile home millionaire” says trafficking is often fed by the foster system and that those caught in it, have no other choice.
“I lived in 27 different homes and I was trafficked in all of the homes but two. We would sometimes miss school, be put in cages, waiting for whatever else happened. And I know that there is this false belief that all the women choose it, well the fact of the matter is, they don’t,” said Chimene.
The summit is Sunday August 30th. It is being live streamed on the Rended Heart Facebook page, and and in person gathering is happening at First Assembley of God in Overland Park.