Fighting human trafficking: paving the way

Author: Ivanhoe Newswire
Published: Updated:
Photo via Pixabay

On July 30th, child safety advocates will mark World Human Trafficking Day. It’s a day designed to call attention to the children who are lured or coerced into sex trafficking.

300,000 a year in the United States alone. That’s not in some far away country, but right here at home. Below is the story of some women who are dedicating their lives to making a difference.

For years, Linsey Ruth has found a release in sewing, stitching pieces of fabric into blankets or purses that bring comfort to others. This now happily married mother of five had a dark past from the time she was a teen. Her ex-husband used control and isolation to force her into prostitution.

“And he said ‘you know, I think maybe we should try this’. And “this” was to have me be with other people,” Ruth told Ivanhoe.

Ruth is not alone. Human trafficking generates about 32 billion dollars every year. And the average age for a child to enter the trade is 12 to 14 years old.

“As a child I was trafficked, and it’s still, for me it’s not easy for me to talk about,” said Tina Kadolph.

Jan Edwards is on the forefront of the fight against human trafficking.

“What people need to know is it’s happening in every single zip code, and every single neighborhood,” explained Jan Edwards, President and CEO of Paving the Way.

Her organization, Paving the Way, educates teachers, parents, students, and law enforcement on the signs of this hidden crisis.

“You’ve got embarrassment, shame and fear on the victim’s side, and then you’ve got guilt, manipulation and coercion, and threats on the perpetrators side. I don’t want any child, any child to suffer from that,” Edwards told Ivanhoe.

Edwards says: have conversations about awareness and prevention. Look out for signs of isolation and loss of interest. Kids should turn off their location settings and turn on their privacy settings, know who they’re talking to online, and never accept a drink prepared by someone else. Ruth and Kadolph are part of the less than five percent who escape the trade. Ruth now teaches other victims to sew as part of therapy, and Kadolph owns a volunteer run coffee shop that donates one hundred percent of its profits to fight human trafficking.

Edwards says you can help by simply having a conversation to raise awareness, donating, or go to to become a mission ambassador and be trained to educate others in your city. But the most important thing she wants people to do if they see or suspect anything is call the National Trafficking Hotline at once: 888-373-7888.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Hayley Hudson, Producer; Katie Campbell, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer; Bob Walko, Editor.

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