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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted by Center for Women’s MinistriesThe Center for Women’s Ministries in Fulton is sponsoring a presentation by Nanette Ward, of the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri on Saturday from 1:30-4 p.m. at Victory Fellowship Church in Fulton.

The Center for Women’s Ministries in Fulton is sponsoring a presentation by Nanette Ward from the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri on Saturday from 1:30-4 p.m. at Victory Fellowship Church in Fulton.

“CWM is staffed completely by volunteers but all the volunteers are expected to have training, and a part of their advanced training is to attend presentations either at the center or in the community,” said the center’s director, Carmen Brandt. “So as I looked at topics for advanced training for the volunteers, human trafficking was one that would really benefit the ladies because women come to our center for counseling. Some of them may have been involved in some type of human trafficking or some other type of problem. But that’s something we thought would be beneficial in counseling because that way they would be able to address the issue, and in order to address it we should have the training.”

Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri’s mission is to end and prevent forced labor and sexual exploitation of children, women and men. They strive to do this through advocacy, active engagement in community collaboration and education. The coalition seeks to identify victims, expose traffickers and users, promote slave-free practices and support survivors as they recover.

Ward is a 2008 founding member of the coalition, has been an active volunteer for over 13 years and is currently serving as trustee on the board of directors. She conducts presentations and trainings in the community, is a full-time volunteer advocate, and works closely with service providers and law enforcement to provide direct support to victims and survivors.

In April 2017, she was appointed to the Missouri Attorney General’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. She also served on the Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the social service arm of the US Attorney’s Office Western District of Missouri Human Trafficking Rescue Project. After moving to Boone County from the Kansas City area in 1994, Ward worked for the Governor’s Council on Disability, Services for Independent Living, the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission and the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Ward strives daily to achieve the Coalition’s vision for communities to be free of modern slavery.

“I connected with Nanette Ward several years ago,” Brandt said. “When I met with her and talked to her, she said they provided training and that they have a new program called Human Trafficking 101. It’s basic information about human trafficking. She did share with me that in the Kingdom City area, there have been several incidents of human trafficking, so I felt like that was something that our ladies would benefit from, especially being that close to somewhere (where) it has happened.”

The coalition continues to raise awareness of human trafficking and support local survivors in and around Central Missouri. They facilitate numerous trainings, seminars and various events each year to bring attention to the cause.

The presentation hosted by the Center of Women’s Ministries will include general information about how the program occurred and how to identify people in distress and help them.

CWM already offers free one-on-one peer counseling, marriage peer counseling, support groups, bible studies, prayer support and seminars and conferences. But they truly believe having this training will help them further their counseling experience and help them be able to improve the emotional and spiritual health of women in the community.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Brandt. “We’ve been advertising about it for the last month, so hopefully we will have a good turn out. But, you know, when you look at social media, and especially on TV, and you see human trafficking you think, ‘Well, that happens some place else, that doesn’t happen locally.’ But when you realize it happens at Midway and in Kingdom City, where it’s kind of a hub, you realize that we probably need to have more information about it. So we’re hoping that people will learn from this and be able to utilize the information that they obtain.”

For more information about the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri, visit stophumantraffickingmo.com. For the Center for Women’s Ministries visit, cwmfulton.com.

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