Hear Their Voices, a partnership between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Veronica’s Voice, is hosting a community event Sept. 9-10 in Kansas City to offer educational resources for prevention of human sex trafficking and bring healing and support to existing survivors.
The Kansas City metropolitan area has the second highest incidences of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States. Thus far in 2017, the Western Missouri U.S. Attorney’s Office has reported prosecuting more cases involving human trafficking than any other U.S. district.*
The two-day initiative begins Saturday, Sept. 9 with door-to-door distribution of information, prayer for youth safety, a silent auction and a symposi-concert at the Jack Reardon Convention Center, located at 520 Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, that will begin at 7:30 pm. The symposi-concert will feature speakers Rénee Battle-Brooks, a practicing attorney who regularly consults on human trafficking cases, and Kristy D. Childs, founder of Veronica’s Voice, an organization providing legal assistance, safe housing and life skills training for survivors of prostitution.
On Sept. 10 from 2-5 pm, a community expo will be held at the G. Alexander Bryant Youth Center on the campus of Central States Conference of Seventh-day Adventists located at 3301 Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas. This event will allow families to learn about human sex trafficking in a safe and engaging environment. Interactive learning stations will focus on awareness and prevention of trafficking through images and conversations with Kansas City police officers and representatives from Veronica’s Voice and Sunflower House. Face painting, a bouncy inflatable and original children’s music from the Mighty Magic Pants will add to the afternoon’s lively education.
Collaboration Key to Success
The Hear Their Voices partnership, with the support of faith-based and medical institutions, aims to demonstrate the power of effective collaboration among community organizations. Donna Jackson, associate ministerial director for pastoral spouses for the North America Division of Seventh-day Adventists, said she is excited to see the collaboration between Kansas City churches and other community organizations to raise awareness and support Veronica’s Voice in helping people re-establish their lives. “I’m praying that this event will have a wide influence by challenging people to become aware of what is happening in their own communities and support local organizations fighting human trafficking,” Jackson said.
Gary Thurber, president of the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said, “I am grateful for the leadership of Ivona Bernard in bringing a team together from Central States Conference, Kansas-Nebraska Conference, Iowa-Missouri Conference, Rocky Mountain Conference, Mid-American Union, Shawnee Mission Health and the North American Division to help bring awareness to one of the great evils of our time. It is a privilege to support this effort against the destructive plague of trafficking in our community and I encourage all who can to do the same.”
NAD president Dan Jackson stated that he is delighted to see the collaboration among entities aligning to raise awareness and prevention of human sex trafficking. “Since it is our God-appointed mission to bring His hope and wholeness to our territory, the Hear Their Voices: End Human Trafficking event in Kansas City on Sept. 9 and 10 is one I enthusiastically endorse,” he said.
For more information, including volunteer opportunities and social media posts, or to make a secure donation to assist survivors, please visit www.heartheirvoices.org.
*Statistic based on 2017 Missouri School Counselor Association Report.