About 1 year ago I met Denise Lester. Denise had just given a presentation to a community group. About her organization, Rended Heart. A non-profit organization she founded to help teenage girls escape a life caught up in sex trafficking, basically non-consent prostitution.
I learned a lot about a problem in our community I knew very little about. One of the most surprising things I took away from Denise’s presentation is that Kansas City is a hub for sex trafficking.
After her presentation we talked about the vulnerability of these young girls, many who have been separated from their family and living in troublesome circumstances. After these girls fall prey to a life of prostitution, they know they need to be rescued and that is where Denise Lester and her team at Rended Heart come into play.
Rended Heart provides trauma-informed crisis intervention, immediate short-term accommodations, resources, and services, for the purpose of preparing the sexually exploited girls for entry into a long-term restoration or reintegration program.
Denise founded Rended Heart in Feb 2017 on Valentine’s Day. She was volunteering for a local anti-human trafficking organization and saw that there was a gap in services for those seeking to escape from sex trafficking. There was a need for a short-term crisis program to help victims get clean and assist with emotional and mental health issues in order to qualify for long-term transition services.
As I got to know more about Rended Heart, I learned that social media is a significant driver of sexual exploitation of young females with the average age for sexual exploitation occurring between 14-17 years of age. And 85% reported having a history of sexual abuse in childhood. These young women are recruited by traffickers that play on their vulnerability, gain their trust, and then manipulate and coerce them into sexual exploitation. Traffickers see a huge demand for purchasing sex as sex trafficking generates approximately $100 billion a year, and there is real fear, confusion, shame, and hopelessness that keeps a person captive to sex exploitation.
Today, Rended Heart has a crisis 5-bed home with a staff manager who is a survivor. The victims are given assistance in securing ID’s, food stamps, medicine, and meeting basic needs, as well as providing hope and a support system. After the first transitional week, they are provided counsel on a long-term program solution and helped through the application process.
Recently, Rended Heart opened a second reintegration home where victims are given help in securing education and job training. The girls then help to pay rent and utilities with the money they earn through their jobs.
Over the last 5 years, Rended Heart has responded to over 350 advocacy calls at emergency rooms, mental health facilities, jails, and courtrooms. They lean on their partners, volunteers, and donors to help their mission.
Please join me and us at Horn Law in helping Rended Heart with your financial help, Even a smaller donation means a lot in helping to support these girls with their crisis need. You can be assured that your dollars are helping these girls when they need it most and providing them hope for their future.
Thanks for your consideration. To learn more visit Rended Heart online at: https://rendedheart.org/how-to-help/.