By: Brenda Dickerson, communication director, Mid-America Union, courtesy Adventist Review
Representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Veronica’s Voice, and other community organizations hosted Hear Their Voices Sept. 9-10, 2017, in Kansas City, United States, to offer education for prevention of human sex trafficking and to provide support to existing survivors.
The collaborative two-day initiative included door-to-door distribution of awareness-raising information to 1,000 area homes, prayers for youth safety, and a symposium/concert at the Jack Reardon Convention Center featuring more than 20 musicians and guest speakers Rénee Battle-Brooks, an assistant state’s attorney who prosecutes sex trafficking cases in Maryland, and Kristy D. Childs, founder of Veronica’s Voice, a Kansas City organization providing safe housing, health care, and a two-year life skills training program for survivors of commercialized sexual exploitation.
Ivona Bernard, coordinator of this ground-breaking event, stated that one of the main goals of Hear Their Voices was to provide “an emphasis on human sex trafficking prevention, in order to keep people from being lured into exploitative situations.” While reports show that sex trafficking is happening in every town and across all socioeconomic and cultural demographics, the Kansas City metropolitan area has the second highest incidences of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States.*
During her presentation, Battle-Brooks stated that trafficking takes place in high volume at sporting events, state fairs, casinos, and business conventions. “Every time I travel, I look around and wonder who on my airplane and at my hotel is being trafficked,” she said. Battle-Brooks pointed out how pop culture glamorizes commercialized sex through music and movies. “The evil of human trafficking will continue as long as society allows it,” she declared.