Speaker highlights terrors of human trafficking in Cambodia

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JEFFERSON CITY - "Life changing." This is how U.S. Activist for Agape International Missions (AIM) Meredith Ramsey describes the purpose of the organization she serves. 

Ramsey, who grew up in Jefferson City, spoke to a crowd of 50 people this morning at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City on the horrors of human trafficking in Cambodia. 

According to Ramsey, AIM's goal is to "prevent, rescue, restore and reintegrate young girls from sexual trafficking in Cambodia."

Ramsey's parents are both missionaries for AIM in the southeast asian country, which is how she was inspired to spread the aspirations and intent of the organization within the U.S.

"My dad works in the reintegration process where he starts small businesses for the girls to work in," Ramsey said. "My mom works in the prevention school where they have about 550 students where they are working to prevent children from being sold into slavery."

According to AIM, "the Cambodian community of Svay Pak is a notorious haven for international pedophiles and prepubscent sex," an informational flyer reads. "Once a girl is controlled by a pimp or brothel owner, she is sold (raped) up to 12 times a night." 

Members listening to the presentation appeared astonished and overwhelmed with emotion.

Ken Enloe, a parishoner at First Baptist Church, was confounded that many of the children sold in Cambodia are bought by westerners.

"I guess one of the most troubling aspects to it is the fact that it is supported financially probably by westerners and maybe people from America," Enloe said. "It's obviously a world wide issue."

Sondra Allen, another parishoner of First Baptist Church, said she was shocked she did not know about this problem in Cambodia.

"I know that with what she presented, it barely scratched the surface of this worldwide issue," Allen said. "What is happening to those little girls is just not right. What am I doing?" 

To assist with ending human trafficking in Cambodia, Ramsey suggests getting involved with local organizations, as well as through simple prayers.

"Get involved in local coalitions, and there's a human trafficking hotline that you can call if you see anything suspicious," Ramsey said. "There's a 5K run that supports fighting human trafficking in February every year in Jefferson City."

At Ramsey's presentation, bracelets, scarves, jewerly and other items created by children rescued from human trafficking were for sale - each with the name of the child on the creation. All proceeds from went directly to the child who crafted it.

Allen said she is more educated on the predicament occuring in Cambodia thanks to Ramsey's presentation.

"I am very aware now of what is going on and the help these kids need."