Childhood abuse helps shape Topeka woman helping human trafficking, child abuse victims

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– Childhood abuse shaped a local woman into the woman she is today, and now she’s fighting for other victims.

Jennifer Montgomery works as the co-chair of the Human Trafficking Advisory Board for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. Teaching people about the warning signs of human trafficking.

“Really providing educational information about how to spot some of the indicators of trafficking and how to report it,” Jennifer said.

She said her work is personal.

“I experienced abuse as a child,” Jennifer said.

At a young age, Jennifer went through sexual and physical abuse.

“I’m certainly more than what happened to me.”

Jennifer Montgomery

“I think that made it really hard for me to trust people,” Jennifer said. “It’s difficult to really have a solid sense of self growing up.”

But instead of letting the abuse stop her, she grew from it.

“Sometimes people get stuck in the suffering of the obstacle that they’ve gone through,” said Barry Feaker who works with Jennifer at Freedom Now USA. “Jennifer is a good example of how you can be free. And not be bond and trapped.”

Jennifer said she recently learned how to stop dwelling on her childhood. She even took a trip to Rwanda learning about forgiveness from people who lived during the Rwandan Genocide. As she’s on her way to healing, she’s not letting the abuse get in the way.

“You don’t have to be defined by the abuse,” Montgomery said. “And I know, for me, I’m certainly more than what happened to me.”

Now she’s using her journey to protect others going through the same thing.

“It’s a part of protecting children in our communities,” Jennifer said. “Or being that person that I never had growing up.”

Jennifer said she’s willing to share her story in hopes it will start a conversation about abuse in the community. She also wants to make a safe place for kids to talk to someone they trust.

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