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Regent University Alumni Shine Light Into the Dark World of Trafficking

After graduating from Regent University, Pat and Lori McKenna began the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative to raise awareness and train people to fight sex trafficking in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

LORI MCKENNA (VOICEOVER): What we

started with and where God has taken

us are two different things.

And that's frequently what God does.

NARRATOR: Pat and Lori McKenna met at Regent University.

He was studying law and she public policy.

I chose Regent because it was making leaders

to change the world.

And that just really grabbed me.

PAT MCKENNA (VOICEOVER): The professors, really,

were more than just professors.

They were really people who spoke into our lives.

We started every class, first looking

at what God's word said, and then we

would look at our case law and such like that.

And it was always infused throughout the discussions.

NARRATOR: The couple married, and Pat went

to work for a local law firm.

As they started a family, Laurie decided

to stay home and raise their children.

Then, in 2008, they learned about the dark world

of sex trafficking.

I was so ignorant about the topic of human trafficking that

I didn't-- I didn't know it was happening anywhere

in the world, let alone the United States.

My world was really rocked when

I learned about trafficking.

Because I couldn't think of anything more

horrific than being raped over, and over, and over, and over.

These women are so psychologically broken that

once they're involved-- or the men for that matter,

it could be a man too-- it's very hard to reverse

the process.

I found myself asking God, OK what do you want me to do now?

NARRATOR: Pat and Lori started the Virginia Beach Justice

Initiative.

Its purpose is to raise awareness and train

people to fight sex trafficking in the Hampton Roads area.

LORI MCKENNA (VOICEOVER): Part of the training,

we do role playing, so that they practice ahead

of time different scenarios.

And it never fully prepares you, but it's

looking at different scenarios that they may face.

So they're well prepared.

NARRATOR: They also help trafficking victims

by working alongside local law enforcement.

As a police department we only have a certain amount of tools

to address the problem.

And so what we want to do, is offer

them help with services such as dealing with trauma,

dealing with addiction, finding a place to live, employment.

And as a Police Department, we don't have those assets.

So we bring in partners such as VBJI

that help us bring those assets to bear

to help these women to get out of this lifestyle.

LORI MCKENNA (VOICEOVER): So we're

that nonprofit in this area that helps walk alongside the girls.

Whether they need just emergency things right away, or long

term care.

That's where we step in.

And they call us.

Sometimes they have us on hand for the sting operations,

or we do ride with them.

Just seeing who might be on the street

that might be a trafficking victim.

We hand out little cards when we meet them, and just

let them know that there's an organization of people here

that are ready to help them if they

want to get out of that life.

NARRATOR: In addition to training advocates,

they are building resources and services

to meet the needs of trafficked victims.

And we can kind of direct them to-- whether it's housing,

or counseling, or many times they come out with nothing when

we meet them.

Getting them clothing, and food, and just getting stabilized.

NARRATOR: The issue is too big for any one organization.

So to help in the battle, Pat and Lori returned to Regent.

Resources with faculty, resources with other graduates,

people that graduated with us, colleagues,

and students that are there now that will partner with us

in our work.

So Regent's been just a huge blessing in my life

and in our lives.

PAT MCKENNA (VOICEOVER): Regent's not

only top notch in terms of the education that I received,

I definitely felt like I was prepared to hold

my own in the courtroom.

It also, again from the spiritual journey,

just knowing that you can trust God.

Because you know, it's in those places of our weakness

that I learned at Regent-- and I continue

to learn through this ministry, through the practice of law

over the years-- that when I'm weak, God is strong.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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