Ky. woman speaks about surviving human trafficking at rally

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A rally Sunday  afternoon at the Kentucky Capitol focused on bringing awareness to human trafficking and child sex trafficking.

It started as an online effort and organizers say they wanted to bring it to life on the ground.

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“I will always till the day I die, tell this message that we can overcome,” Jennifer Beagle said to the crowd.

“People need to understand just because there’s a woman that’s a prostitute, that’s not her choice,” Beagle said.

Beagle lives in Simpsonville and knows from personal experience.

“I never once as a child said when I grow up I want to be a prostitute,” she said.

Sunday, she shared how she became a survivor of sex trafficking, using her story as a tool to educate.

“90% of children that end up in sex trafficking knew their assailant at home,” Beagle said.

Beagle says she first faced sexual abuse as a 7-year-old when she lived in Florida. She says she knew the predator.

“There are a stream of things that happened to me that led me down that path. But just because I went down that path doesn’t mean that I don’t have value and that I don’t have purpose today,” Beagle said.

Along with speeches, organizers say they wanted to bring non-profits that directly benefit survivors to the people in hopes of making lasting change.

One of the non-profits, Safe Passage, is trying to build a home for children in Kentucky who have been trafficked. Something the group says Kentucky doesn’t have.

“Never in my life have I asked myself what is Kentucky doing for trafficked youth, I said ‘I know no one else has asked that question,'” Cara Starns, founder of Safe Passage, said.

So she’s working to provide a solution.

“It is inhumane to sell a person. It is inhumane to steal a baby, to steal a child, steal an adult and sell them for any means. It is downright evil. It is wrong,” Beagle stressed.

A wrong Bagle is trying to right, in Kentucky and across the country.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com