Human Trafficking Survivor Helps Educate Healthcare Providers In SW Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. With recent raids for suspected human trafficking on more than a dozen massage parlors in Springfield, the disturbing issue has hit home. Many in Springfield spent the afternoon learning more about human trafficking at a conference that has been planned for several months.

180 people registered for CoxHealth’s free human trafficking conference Friday afternoon. They got to hear firsthand from a sex trafficking survivor. Kris Wade was 18 and at a Chicago train station for only minutes, when she says a man offered her a place to stay and a meal. 
Before she knew it, she was under the control of a motorcycle gang that forced her into prostitution.

Wade shared some of the things that made her vulnerable to traffickers. 
“I just really had no respect for authority and like a lot of 18 year old kids, I considered myself queen of the universe and pretty much knew everything in the world there was to know. And I think that couple with my undeveloped teenage brain and my risk taking, thrill seeking capabilities, that made me vulnerable to these guys,” says Wade.

Wade’s advice for parents is to build trust-based relationships with your kids from a young age, and teach them to say no and not show vulnerability to bullies, which is what pimps and traffickers are. Wade also says, “Their kids need to know that they love them unconditionally, that if they get in trouble, it’s ok to tell their parents if they’re in a difficult situation. Parents need to support their kids no matter what.” She says her parents were loving and supportive, which she says ultimately helped her get away from the trafficking.

Wade is now the president of The Justice Project in Kansas City, working to combat trafficking. She and other presenters focused on teaching those in healthcare to look for signs like torture injuries, tattoos showing ownership, burns, and multiple STDs.

To read the full story by Linda Russell on KY3: Click Here

Two Cuffed In Brooklyn Human-Trafficking Bust Could Be Part Of Larger Sex-Slavery Gang

The arrests of two people on sex trafficking charges in Brooklyn could be the tip of the iceberg, according to police sources who said the operation may be linked to a gang that has been forcing young girls into prostitution.

A 21-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were arrested after a 16-year-old girl escaped their Crown Heights lair and told police that she and another teen were being held as sex slaves in an apartment where younger children also live.

“This is absolutely a case of human trafficking where these young girls were taken for profit and being forced to have sex for money,” a source said.

Cops said there are still a lot of unknowns, including the connection between the four younger children in the apartment and the people who were arrested.


To read the full story by Rocco Parascandola  and Molly Crane Newman on New York Daily News: Click Here



Fort Bragg Summit Focuses On Prevention Of Human Trafficking

Shamere McKenzie had big plans for her life.

She was going to be the next Marion Jones. An Olympian. The fastest woman alive.

A high school track star, McKenzie earned a full college scholarship. But then, her dreams fell a part.

When McKenzie shared her story to more than 400 people at Fort Bragg on Monday, she had no stories of Olympic glory.

In spite of her bright future, life dealt McKenzie a rough hand.

Instead of racing around the track, McKenzie was one of countless women who was forced to work the track, a nickname for anywhere victims are sexually exploited.

For more than a year a decade ago, McKenzie was held against her will as a prostitute.

Sometimes the bonds were physical – a hand around her throat, a fist to her face or a boot to her side.

But mostly, the bonds were psychological – formed by a fear not only for her own life, but for her family’s.

“Human trafficking was my life for 18 months,” McKenzie said at Fort Bragg’s Special Victims Summit. “That’s 18 months of what I describe as severe torture. Torture in every sense of the word torture.”

McKenzie, who now runs the nonprofit Sun Gate Foundation dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking, told her story as part of an annual event that brings Fort Bragg and surrounding partners together under a common goal of helping the most vulnerable.

This year’s event had a focus on human trafficking and a goal of bringing community and military leaders together to tackle the issue, said officials from Womack Army Medical Center who organized the event.

Dr. Sharon Cooper, a staff forensic and developmental pediatrician at Womack, said that in military communities in particular, officials must keep their eyes open for sometimes subtle signs of the horrible crimes.

“The research shows that wherever you have a military community, you will have businesses that foster labor and human trafficking,” Cooper said.

To read the full story by Drew Brooks at the Fay Observer: Click Here