Topeka groups helping human trafficking victims with handmade blankets

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Fresh Start Kit blankets

Local groups say dozens of local women are falling victim to human trafficking, being forced to have sex for money.

But now, a local group is bringing the women comfort when they go to get help, with a blanket.

A simple fleece blanket. An item that keeps us warm and safe. An item that can help a victim of sex trafficking in need.

“It’s comforting,” said YWCA CEO, Kathleen Marker. “To feel something soft next to your skin. And to feel like you can wrap yourself in a blanket. So, it’s just very practical. But also very heart warming.”

The Topeka Rotary Clubs have donated and collected items to go inside of duffle bags, called Fresh Start Kits, for trafficked victims for the last year. But the blanket is the newest addition. The blankets will go inside of the Fresh Start Kits. These kits also include hygiene products and even clothes for the victims of human trafficking.

Some of the bags have been donated to clients at the YWCA. The organization said one woman who was being forced to have sex for money got her hands on one of the bags, after walking in the cold barefoot and without a jacket.

“These women are coming out of a horrific situation with nothing,” said Downtown Topeka Rotary member Jannett Wiens. “And so the Fresh Start Kits are providing them with some very basic needs. clothing, hygiene, some personal items. And then, a fun, soft blanket.”

The YWCA said it served 93 local human trafficking victims last year, and these bags are a start to helping them.

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