With Derby a month away, human trafficking victim urges women to be vigilant
The Kentucky Derby is supposed to be a time for friends and fun, but for many, it's anything but that.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Derby is supposed to be a time for friends and fun, but for many, it's anything but that.
"Every year during Derby, we have girls sleeping on our porch," Angela Renfro said. "When I wake up, they be laying on my porch."
Renfro, founder of the Kristy Love Foundation, says the number of human trafficking victims she helps nearly doubles around Derby.
"Derby is like ... it becomes an emergency room for me," she said.
Since starting the foundation, Renfro has helped 700 women become survivors just like her.
"Being raped over and over again and being passed around like a rag doll, I was forced in prostitution and human trafficking," Renfro said.
She says sharing her story with them offers hope that they too can break free.
"One time, they dug a hole and put me in, like, a grave," Renfro said. "And he said, 'You think I'm playing with you?' And he said, 'The next time you don't have my money, I'm going to bury you here.'"
After more than 20 years of being sold for sex, Renfro has turned her past into power.
Human trafficking typically starts up two weeks leading into Derby. Now a month out, she's already walked the streets passing out her cards and talking to women.
"I believe the minute you walk out your door, you can become a potential victim of human trafficking," Renfro said.
She says if a woman is out walking the streets by herself after 9 p.m., looks tired and hasn't showered, she could be a victim.
Renfro says no one who comes to her will be turned away.
"Once you touch the door knob at the Kristy Love Foundation, you are no longer a victim. You are a survivor."
The Kristy Love Foundation is holding an event May 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Christ Church on Brownsboro Road for all survivors to experience Derby the way it should be celebrated.
Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Senator John McCain, will be the guest speaker.
You can more information on the Kristy Love Foundation by clicking here.
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