St. Jude’s Ranch for Children brings sex trafficking awareness experts and a survivor together for a courageous conversation
LAS VEGAS – On January 31, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., St. Jude’s Ranch for Children Chief Executive Officer Dr. Christina Vela will host a free one-hour webinar entitled “Courageous Conversations with Christina – Child Sex Trafficking” to commemorate Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Child sex trafficking is actively happening in the Las Vegas Valley, and at an alarming rate. The “Courageous Conversation with Christina – Child Sex Trafficking” will discuss factual evidence, raise awareness, and educate attendees about the reality of this “hidden crime” while demonstrating how everyone can join the fight to protect children.
Host Dr. Vela will be joined by special guests Jessica Kay, a survivor, and Tonya Turner, a human trafficking expert.
Jessica Kay is the Program Director at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and a courageous survivor of sex trafficking. As a survivor, she understands the challenges facing victims and the importance of speaking out. Jessica originally began sharing her story in hopes of helping others. In 2019, she won a poetry contest for her poem, “Serving a Lifetime,” about the actuality and ongoing personal impact of this crime. She continues to speak out to empower others in vulnerable situations to find that same courage to continue. She will share some of her story and insight during the webinar.
“Part of what I’d like people to understand is the helplessness one feels when forced into a trafficking experience,” Jessica said. “And then the pain doesn’t go away. It is hard to breakthrough to victims. We have walls built up so high and it seems everyone we have ever known has lied to us, hurt us, used us, and abused us. It takes time to trust and heal.”
Tonya Turner is the Executive Director of UNITAS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking and exploitation through education and awareness while helping provide opportunities for survivors to thrive. She is the first black woman to lead a U.S.-based international counter-trafficking organization. Turner hopes to change the stigma surrounding trauma and trafficking while amplifying the urgency of stopping human trafficking.
The “Courageous Conversations with Christina – Child Sex Trafficking” virtual webinar event is free to attend on Zoom. Those interested in attending can register online at stjudesranch.org/events.
ABOUT ST. JUDE’S RANCH FOR CHILDREN
For more than 55 years, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children has been a community of hope and healing for children and young people that are victims of abuse and neglect. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization helps children and youth, ages zero to 25, who have been abused, neglected, exploited and/or homeless, by providing safety, stability, and healing in a caring environment. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children offers customized therapy, high-quality residential and transitional housing programs, and numerous supportive services, as well as opportunities to keep families and siblings together and spend time together when separated in foster care. The charity’s ultimate focus is to break the cycle of abuse and help children and young people become thriving positive members of the community. For more information, visit www.stjudesranch.org or get social @StJudesRanch for Facebook and Twitter or @stjudesranchforchildren on Instagram.