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Freedom's Bridge assists victims of trafficking in Kansas City area

Freedom's Bridge
Posted at 3:36 PM, Nov 30, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri, has many ministries, but this one is close to home for Joy Marie Chamberland.

"It is personal for me, I do have family that was, family members who were trafficked," Chamberland, with Freedom's Bridge said.

Weighing heavy on her heart, Chamberland was called to action, creating Freedom's Bridge. It aims to help victims of trafficking in the Kansas City area.

"When I approached my pastors and asked, 'Could we be a safe harbor? Could we do this? Could you do this? [they said yes] no questions," Chamberland said.

The International Labor Organization estimates there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, and hundreds of thousands here in the United States.

"Our purpose is to bridge the 72 hour gap when there's a human trafficking rescue, whether that's a child or an adult," Chamberland said.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department has worked closely with Chamberland, taking her along on three trafficking stings just this year.

"Victims of human trafficking don't always trust the police and they don't trust authority," Sgt. Brad Dumit with KCPD said. "But she's a person that they do trust and sometimes just breaking down that initial barrier of trust is one of the biggest factors, or one of the biggest hurdles that we can jump over before we can start doing some of the other things."

Providing prayer, a bus pass or hotel room are things she can offer through Freedom's Bridge. Following a rescue, Chamberland said it's a start to a victims recovery.

Nearly two years into the ministry, faith is what Chamberland said keeps her going.

"I'm called here to stand in the gap for trafficking victims who become survivors," Chamberland said.

Veronica's Voice and Relentless Pursuit Outreach and Recovery are other local resources available to trafficking survivors.