From Vulnerability to Empowerment
“Security, safety, stability, freedom, and a future.”
Those are the 5 words Kylee* uses to explain what is given when you support United Way partners like Magdalene KC. For dozens of women in Kansas City, Magdalene KC is a residential program that provides survivors of commercial sexual exploitation with a safe and secure present as well as future—something that may not have been possible throughout their lives.
The program is operated by local nonprofit Veronica’s Voice, and provides up to two years of free transitional housing in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. That helps empower the women of Magdalene KC to become thriving and contributing members of their community.
“Magdalene KC means a support system that will never give up on me when I want to run, and I want to give up on myself,” said Rachael*, a current resident at Magdalene KC.
According to Veronica’s Voice Executive Director Lucy Bloom, sex and labor trafficking have unfortunately been part of Kansas City’s history since its early days.
“Wherever there’s a vulnerability, that is what traffickers prey upon to get access to individuals they can then build relationships with, groom and ultimately exploit to provide services on the street. It goes back to longstanding, toxic beliefs.”
But Lucy also says the community has made strides to end the practices, thanks in part to programs like Magdalene KC providing critical resources.
“The shift we’ve seen after 20 years of work to support for individuals shows there’s a real community of compassion that seems to be rising up,” she said.
That work has consisted of helping survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution, sex trafficking, homelessness, and addiction become thriving members of their communities through free housing, job and life skills training. Veronica’s Voice also provides resources to further their education, employment opportunities, and addiction and trauma recovery in a supportive community environment.
For the individuals who receive care through Veronica’s Voice and through Magdalene KC, it is an opportunity for a better, safer life. When you choose to support United Way’s mission, you make a difference for your neighbors, Magdalene KC residents like Destiny*.
“It means not having to get into the next car, not having to look for that next fix,” Destiny* said. “Not stressing over money, bills and where you’re going to sleep or being afraid to go to sleep. It means a community that supports, protects you, celebrates you even the smallest steps and the biggest milestones in your life. It’s unconditional love and family you’ve never had before, sisters that love you even when you don’t love yourself.”
* For privacy purposes, this story uses aliases for residents of Magdalene KC. For more information about United Way of Greater Kansas City’s funded programs, visit the Our Partners page on our website.