Today we would like to highlight the story of Jennifer Kempton, founder of www.survivorsink.org
Last month I found myself awake at 2:30am. This happens to me several times a month. I suspect it is a symptom of PTSD. When I find myself awake and anxious I usually start reading scriptures and inspirational words online, to help me settle my mind and process whatever trauma memory is trying to find an outlet. This time I ran across a website called Survivor’s Ink.
As I sat watching this 10-minute video in the early morning hours, I knew I would have to do something to get involved with this organization. The work that Jennifer is doing is an inspiration. I am a survivor of abuse, and worked for 12 years in the adult entertainment industry. I still have tattoos I would like to get rid of. Jennifer is making that dream a reality for trafficking survivors in the Ohio area.
Jennifer was abused and assaulted at a young age. She met a man, got involved in drugs, and eventually was pimped by her boyfriend. Drug houses had tattoo artists who were paid to stay there and brand the girls. Some tattoos said ‘Property of….’ Every time these women look at these tattoos in the mirror they are reminded of the violence they have experienced.
Through a member of her local church, Jennifer met a local tattoo artist named Charles Waldo who agreed to cover her tattoos. “Having to look at these scars you wonder if you’ll ever be anything else.” Says Jennifer in the YouTube documentary produced by The Guardian Newspaper.
Jennifer got the idea to start Survivor’s Ink when Charles so graciously covered all her tattoos. She accepts scholarship applications for each tattoo, and when she is able to raise the money she brings the women in to receive their cover up tattoos.
She has fought hard to get where she is, and is reaching out to help others break free of their bondage and wounds. Jennifer does outreach once a month in Columbus to areas that are frequently trafficked, and distributes care packages to the women on the streets.
Because of Jennifer’s criminal background she had a very difficult time finding employment. She was eventually hired by Freedom a la Cart. They are a catering company that only employs human trafficking survivors.
Jennifer is helping to de-brand other women and helping them to share their stories of truth and victory. Each organization has its unique way of helping trafficking survivors. The work Jennifer is doing is a much needed and valuable part of our community outreach. If you know a trafficking survivor who is in need of a branding cover up you may contact Survivor’s Ink at www.survivorsink.org/contact. Survivor’s Ink, based in Columbus, Ohio, is connected with survivors and providers across the nation.
The Guardian documentary may be viewed at www.survivorsink.org/video
Written by Jessika Fuhrmaneck
Contributing Writer with Two Wings