by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – Slavery ended in America after the Civil War, right?
Wrong. It just has a different form in 2015. We can use a more polite term like “human trafficking” or “forced labor” but we can also call the exploitation what it is: modern day slavery.
It’s happening in Missouri right now. In this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints”, Nanette Ward from the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition explains that it takes many forms. While prostitution is one of the best known ways people are exploited and abused through human trafficking, forced labor is another.
You may have come into contact with a victim right here in the Show Me State.
It could be someone working at a nail salon, at a construction site, in a restaurant, in motels or doing custodial work. While thousands of Missourians do these jobs voluntarily, legally and for full pay, sometimes others are doing them because they or their families are threatened by traffickers.
Christine McDonald tells her story on this week’s program. She survived over 17 years of being trafficked for forced labor and prostitution. She was a 15 year old runaway from a dysfunctional home when she entered the world of human trafficking. She explains how she walked into that life, how she sat at the table when she was literally sold to another person, the horrors she was put through and why it’s so difficult to leave once you are ensnared.
McDonald now uses her experience, her story and her faith to help others escape the world of human trafficking. She recounts her experience and why she says there is hope for every victim in her book “Cry Purple”.
McDonald is currently transitioning into the role of Program Director for Restoration House of Greater Kansas City, which helps women escape lives of sex trafficking. The organization takes an encompassing approach to allowing women to heal from the trauma and the related damage of being a victim of trafficking. That often includes substance abuse, medical needs and mental health needs.
McDonald has also had an impact on the lives of sex trafficking victims through her work with Magdalene St. Louis.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
On the web:
Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition – StopHumanTraffickingMO.com
Christine McDonald – CryPurple.com
Restoration House of Greater Kansas City – http://restorationhousekc.daretocreo.com/
Magdalene St. Louis – http://www.magdalenestl.org/