Oklahoma Couple Tackling Human Trafficking Issue In Oklahoma, Abroad

Wednesday, December 8th 2010, 4:27 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma couple is trying to do something about the global issue of human trafficking.

Ken and Kathy Kelly have started a grassroots organization called Shine International. The husband and wife team are former law enforcement officers who are on a mission to help the many women and children out there who are victims of human trafficking and are sold into modern day slavery and prostitution everyday.

"This is something they don't teach us in law enforcement," said Ken Kelly, co-founder of Shine International. " You think of this as third world country stuff and its not. Its actually happening here in the United States."

The couple said they hope to open up a victims center in South Africa to help them and hope to open one in Oklahoma City as well. Their project has been a grassroots effort, one they've funded mainly on their own.

"If I die a very poor person but I've saved one person's life, it's worth it," Kathy Kelly said.

Right now, the couple said they are focusing on the small south African country of Lesotho. It is a country devastated by AIDS and one that has left many orphaned children vulnerable to being swept up in the human trafficking trade.

"Just been put on our heart," said Ken Kelly. "That's where we need to be. God has led us in this direction."

The Kellys want to open up a victim's center and orphanage to help protect them and give them a chance at a better life. Ken said he will be traveling to Lesotho, Africa the first week of January to visit with the various tribes there to find out their immediate needs and to scout out a building to house the two.

They will also be having a benefit dinner and auction to help raise money and awareness for the cause in February.

Follow the Kelly's journey on their blog