For over twenty years after she escaped, sex trafficking victim Tina Kadolph struggled to come to terms with what she had faced as a child and young adult. Her physical and mental health deteriorated as she ran from her memories and lived in denial.
Once she realized she needed to work through the trauma head on, Kadolph found new purpose for her past pain and her life today.
“It’s taken a long time to get to where I am today where I can talk about it,” Kadolph said.
For Kadolph, the defining moment was when she realized that what had caused her so much pain God could use for good.
Determined to help victims like herself, Kadolph and her husband established a nonprofit organization in 2000. Love Missions is dedicated to ending human trafficking worldwide.
In the beginning, Kadolph would take teams to different countries every year to educate, bring donations and instill hope. But when a malfunctioning internet search led her to discover a small country called Guyana in 2005, she knew she had found a new home for her ministry.
The Sunflower House, a safehouse for women and girls that Kadolph will be opening in a few months.
“We had no connection,” Kadolph said. “We just went because God told us to go.”
That first visit to Guyana was just the beginning. Kadolph and her family would continue to return every year, building relationships and educating people about the warning signs of human trafficking.
In 2006, Kadolph shared her own story for the first time to a 13-year-old girl who had just escaped from her trafficker and was looking for a reason to live. That girl, now 25, is married and owns a restaurant. As a sign of gratitude for how much Tina has done for her life, she returns to cook whenever a Love Missions team comes to Guyana.
“As long as I am around, I will help,” she said.
That woman’s 14-year-old sister is now in danger of being trafficked. She will be one of the first to live in a safe house Tina has spent the last few years trying to open. Now, the place she has lovingly dubbed the Sunflower House is just months from opening its doors to victims of trafficking and those at-risk of being trafficked.
Tina hopes that this, along with continuing to educate local children, will decrease the number of children trafficked in Guyana every day.
“I’ve had girls approach me and tell me that someone has approached them and tried to lure them away, but they didn’t go because they remembered something I told them,” Kadolph said.
A Guyanese child plays outside the Sunflower House.
But Kadolph’s work does not stop with Guyana.
Not only does Love Missions take teams on trips around America to educate youth about human trafficking, but the Kadolphs have a local business dedicated to raising awareness and funds for those in need all over the world.
Three years ago, Kadolph and her husband opened Palate Coffee in Sanford, Florida. All proceeds from the volunteer-staffed coffeeshop go toward fighting human trafficking.
Kadolph’s years of hard work and dedication to a cause so close to her heart has not gone unnoticed.
She has spoken at conferences, colleges and even in front of the Florida Senate to promote anti-trafficking laws.
In March, Kadolph was named Central Florida’s 2018 Hero of the Year for her humanitarian efforts.
But for Kadolph, it all comes back to protecting just one more little girl from suffering what she went through all those years ago.
“I realized I could share my story, and it was to bring hope to others because I had so desperately felt as a child that I really honestly didn’t think I would live to be past 14,” Kadolph said. “But I still can share what I can share and tell people there is hope and that God is amazing.”