Fashion by Freedom Event

By: Coleen Sloyan, E23 Reporter

On Sunday October 19, Fashion by Freedom was held in Columbia, MO at America’s Best Value Inn. It was held by the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, CMSHTC for short, to raise awareness of free trade clothing and domestic human trafficking.

The event consisted tables of local community free trade accessories and clothing made overseas in countries like Nepal and Guatemala, a human trafficking survivor speaker, Misty Losinger, and a fashion show.

Nanette Ward and Deb Hume are the coalition’s founding members, both having served the board since 2008. The CMSHTC’s vision is a community free of modern day slavery. Ward spoke at the event about the stereotype of human trafficking being only international. She explained that human trafficking happens in every state, and we need to keep our eyes open. Human trafficking is not only sex slavery, but labor as well. Encouraging the sale of free trade clothing is important to promote the fair wages of others in foreign countries. Ward’s introduction to Losinger clearly displayed an emotional tie between the two. Ward was the first one to help Losinger as part of the coalition and there has been a bond ever since.

Misty Losinger was held for sixteen years of her life in Oregon working at a strip club at the age of 14. Her captor taught her that all police officers were bad and were not to be trusted. Still not knowing today why she trusted one police officer in particular, Misty was able to escape to Missouri. Here Ward and the coalition helped her through a rough transition. Misty did not have an education growing up so it was an honor to see her speak at an event like this. This is only Misty’s second event speaking about slavery prevention but she hopes to continue this work.

Disc Jockey music played in the background as models walked to runway. The models ranged in age from a youngster to college age to well wrinkled and proud elderly women. All clothes displayed on the models were for sale.

The only way the CMSHTC can continue helping women like Misty is through funding. A fundraising event is being held right here in Columbia on December 1st through the 31st. Please considering donating to help shut down this modern day slavery.