Organization Raises Awareness on the Runway

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COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition hosted its third "Freedom by Fashion" event in Columbia Sunday.

The event boasted several fair trade vendors, resource tables, live music and a silent auction to raise both funds and awareness about human trafficking. After the night was in full swing, models strutted down the catwalk in fair trade, reused and up-cycled fashion.

Nanette Ward, co-chair of CMSHTC, hopes the event inspired and educated.

"To be motivated that trafficking is something that everyone can be apart of making a difference to combat," she said. "Whether it's through the fair trade purchase, but most importantly having that awareness because we really can't fight the battle without knowing who and what the enemy is."

The "enemy" has appeared in mid-Missouri before. In April, the Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crimes Task Force uncovered a Columbia man at the center of an online prostitution ring. The Boone County Sheriff's Department arrested Kenyata Miles, 32, for his alleged involvement in human trafficking and forced prostitution among several other crimes. 

CMSHTC is the only organization in central Missouri to give money directly to local survivors.