Human Trafficking Survivor Jennifer Kempton Speaks At Foster Auditorium
It was a packed house in the Foster Auditorium Tuesday night, as students and faculty alike came to discuss a pressing issue. Jennifer Kempton is the face behind “Love Is Not for Sale: From Victim to Survivor,” a program geared to inform people about the dangers of sex trafficking. In collaboration with Assistant Film and Media Studies Professor Pearl Gluck, the two spoke to the crowd to inform them of the horrors behind the sex trafficking industry in the United States.
“I can’t tell you it will be painless…it won’t be,” Gluck informed the audience, preparing them for the rollercoaster of emotions the program would bring.
Kempton is a survivor of human trafficking and is the founder and director of Survivor’s Ink. She created Survivor’s Ink to help women and men overcome some of the painful memories associated with their past. This could be anything from removing tattoos or brands one received while being trafficked or getting them the resources they need during the coping process. Kempton also travels to places like Penn State to educate people on what human trafficking is and how they can help.
During her speech, Kempton shared several statistics about the industry. Another person becomes a victim of human trafficking every 30 seconds, she explained, and most victims fall into trafficking between the ages of 12-14. 30 percent are brought into it by an immediate relative. Her home state of Ohio is currently the fifth highest in the nation for sex trafficking.
After a rough upbringing, Kempton spent six years in the industry where she underwent countless rapes and beatings. She fell victim to trafficking to provide for her then-boyfriend, who lost many of his possessions due to a drug problem. Like many victims, Kempton soon developed an addiction to fill the void — in her case it was heroin. Through her strong will and faith in God, Kempton found her way out and received therapy. She went on to found Survivor’s Ink to assist others like herself and to help put a stop to this horrible crime.
The gruesome details of Kempton’s story inspired Gluck to join the cause. The event featured a preview of “The Turn Out,” a film that is currently in the works by Gluck. The film’s goal is to combat sex trafficking at rest stops and to bring a greater awareness to the issue. She has started an online Kickstarter to help gain funding for the project. In the meantime, she is also addressing the issue here in Pennsylvania.
“In April we are probably going to do one day of educational material. We are going to train cops locally and other activists like nurses,” Gluck said. “We’re starting this task force, and we’re looking at different colleges here in the university and how we can address the realities of trafficking in the way you experienced it tonight, the realities of prostitution and the realities of trafficking and where they overlap.”