Welcome to a special edition of The Advance.

According to recent reports, the human trafficking industry has more than doubled since 2009, becoming the world’s second most profitable criminal enterprise after drug trafficking. Valued to be an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry, sex trafficking takes place in every community. Closer to home, Kansas City is #2 among 10 metropolitan cities in the US as a hub for domestic minor sex trafficking.

Earlier this year, we became involved with Hear Their Voices, an organization that promotes awareness in communities through events aimed at ending human sex trafficking.

One of our main partners is Veronica’s Voice, a safe home for survivors of the industry in the Kansas City area. The organization’s founder, Kristy Childs, is herself a survivor and frequently gives talks nationwide advocating for a system that better recognizes the needs of survivors.

OUTLOOK met with Ivona Bernard, event coordinator for Hear Their Voices, and sat down with Kristy at the safe home to talk about her journey in and out of what those in the know call “the life,” and her efforts to combating the domestic sex industry.