Kansas City company uses fashion to transform the lives of survivors of human trafficking

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – What looks like a store for an ordinary shopper is a safe haven for many women recovering from a life of abuse. From forced labor to sex trafficking to drugs, it can happen to anyone.

Tirza Design is an accessories shop where pieces are made by survivors of the slave trade. Since launching the business in 2020, at least six women have been able to earn a living working for the store while getting back on their feet.

The women who work there have the possibility of being employed, regardless of their past experiences.

Trafficking and abuse advocates also work in the store, providing support to employees.

According to the store owner, customers also play a role in changing women’s lives. Every dollar spent contributes to taking them away from the difficult life they once knew.

“When you come here, whatever is in the store actually provides a safe job for a survivor. So we offer all these items made by survivors. When you buy them, you create a demand for them to stay employed, which prevents them from being reused,” Nikkie Affholter said.

One of Affholter’s employees said she spent years on drugs and even spent time in jail.

After being released, she wanted to find a better way of life. She became an employee of the store which became her first job.

“When you have people around you and encouraging you and supporting you, it changes your life. There are a lot of addicts coming out of addiction, you don’t have that support team. You don’t don’t have people cheering you on,” she said.

Data from Project EPIK shows that there have been more than 90,000 sex buyers in the Kansas City area over the past six years.

If you know someone affected by human trafficking, you can call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

About Ryan Headley

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