KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Human trafficking didn't become a federal crime until 2000.
Decades later, it continues to impact thousand of victims, but a Kansas City community group wants to stop the problem through education.
Community group Sound of Silence has organized an event on Saturday that plans to educate the public about human trafficking. The event is presented as a community awareness fundraiser for nonprofit "Rended Heart." Both groups work to help trafficking victims.
Organizers said the event will feature tips on how to spot trafficking as well as stories from survivors, like Christine McDonald.
"It is a life sentence. I mean, there's complex trauma, there are society stigmas. There are so many challenges, and I was trafficked in plain sight. So people saw me every day," McDonald explained.
McDonald said she was forced into sex trafficking after running away at age 15. She said everyone plays a role in fighting the problem.
"It takes a community, it takes a community breakdown for victims to happen and it takes a community coming together to restore a victim," she said.
The event was organized by Raquel Phillips and Genesis Joyner, co founders of Sound of Silence.
Joyner explained it's times for people to look at the issue of trafficking differently and take it seriously.
"The terms that we use now are sex trafficking. But the terms we're accustomed to are sugar daddies, pimps, things of that nature, so this has been in our culture. It has been in our communities, but we don't know how to recognize it as such and now it's extremely out of hand and it's really, really scary," she said.
The human trafficking awareness event will be free to the public, but donations will be accepted. The event starts at 6 p.m. inside iWerx at 1520 Clay St. in North Kansas City.