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Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition celebrates 10 years, survivors speak out

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Advocates, board members and survivors of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition gathered Thursday night to celebrate a decade of success.

The coalition formed in 2008 and has been dedicated to end and prevent forced labor and sexual exploitation of innocent children, women and men. Through advocacy, active engagement in community collaboration and education, the coalition seeks to identify victims, expose traffickers and users, promote slave free practices and support survivors of human trafficking on their journey toward wholeness. The coalition said it envisions communities free of modern day slavery.

According to a report, in 2017, Missouri had the 16th highest number of human trafficking cases reported of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Many of those cases were reported in mid-Missouri. Among the group of people Thursday night, sat many survivors of human trafficking.

Survivors reflect on coalition

It has been 12 years since Robin Flemming said she told her monster goodbye. She said she has only been active with the coalition for two years, but said the members have been there to help her through tough times.

"They have helped me understand that I am a survivor, I am a warrior and I'm not alone," she said.

Flemming said the coalition has provided a support system that she doesn't have.

"I'd be lost without the coalition," she said. She said there have been times the coalition has provided help with medical care, bills, rides, foods and emotional support. Flemming said she is able to call co-founder Nanette Ward at any time of day and she's always there to help.

Anne Richardson alike is a survivor of human trafficking and said she escaped the marriage just two years ago. She said she constantly makes an effort to be an advocate and speak out against human trafficking.

"It is close to home, it is right here, people do need to be aware of it and take action against it," Richardson said.

Richardson said the members of the coalition are always upbeat and positive.

"They have supported me in all of my decisions. They are my backbone, they are my rock, it's good days and bad days, they're always there," she said.

To get involved with the coalition, visit their website for more information.


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