Jennifer Kempton is a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a survivor of sex trafficking.
“It happens to anyone, it happens anywhere and we have to be very proactive as a community to help people in this situation because it’s happening here and something needs to be done about it,” said Kempton.
Jennifer talked openly about being a heroin addict and sex slave with violent gangs in Columbus.
Her story was graphic and hard to even imagine and left a big impact.
“The reality of this girl that was really in this slavery, human slavery position for six years and it was only a few hours away from where we are, and so that’s a big reality, that’s a big reality hit,” said Susan Gilbert.
Jennifer says these kinds of crimes are tough to prove across the country, but silence is what keeps these crimes growing.
“Well yeah, nobody wants to be believed that slavery exists in my town but it does. And for those that don’t think that this is happening around me can just get on back page dot com and Google their city and escorts and you’ll see the endless ads that pop up and the majority of them are not there because they choose to be,” said Kempton.
Even though it’s a heavy topic, Susan says she wants her students prepared for the real world.
“And one of the things I hope that we do as teachers is to teach them to make good choices. And hopefully we’ll say things in the classroom and when they get into this reality and they see something happening and something will hit them, you know they don’t want to fall for this particular situation or if they see someone else in this situation they’ll know who to call,” said Gilbert.
Jennifer uses her horrific experiences for good doing street outreach, passing out health care items and even helping victims remove gang branding tattoos.
“Even the human trafficking it was a blessing in disguise. I get to do amazing things, and it would be very amazing if here in Wheeling you guys can get something amazing started here and start helping the population of broken people like me,” said Kempton.
If you think you ever see sex trafficking call the Polaris Project at 1-888-373-7388.