SANFORD, Fla. - It was a chance meeting that one Central Florida business owner is calling a miracle.
“I sensed something was not ok," Tina Kadolph said, talking about a 26-year-old woman who walked into her Sanford coffee shop to use the bathroom.
“She just happened to come into our coffee shop to use the bathroom- and when she came out, I could just tell she was in distress," Kadolph said.
Kadolph learned that the woman escaped a sex trafficker in Fort Lauderdale, got on a bus, and ended up in Downtown Sanford.
Five years ago, Kadolph started Palate Coffee Brewery, located at 105 W. 2nd St., giving 100 percent of the profits to sex trafficking victims.
"If we all turn our heads away, it's never ever going to stop... so we have to stand, we have to be a voice for our kids- and we have to protect them," she said.
Kadolph was trafficked by her mother when she was just four-years-old. The sexual abuse continued until she ran away at 16.
“I remember how scared I was," she said. "I remember screaming and crying because it was painful."
Many victims of child sex trafficking are first exploited online.
During the pandemic, there has been a recorded 106 percent increase in CyberTipline reports of suspected child exploitation, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Kadolph and her team at Love Missions hope to open a Life Center in Seminole County, providing resources to human trafficking survivors and at-risk youth.
"As soon as we get our Life Center open, we will be reaching out to foster care children to get them prepared and encouraged and know their value so they’re not susceptible to a trafficker," Kadolph said.
Kadolph and her husband Carl have been married for 36 years.
Carl, a carpenter, built the tables inside the coffee shop from discarded wood palates.
“He started showing me that I could accomplish things, that I had worth and that I could do anything I wanted…and he’s always been my biggest fan," Kadolph said.
As for the 26-year-old survivor who found herself inside the Sanford coffee shop.
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"We were able to get her into a safe house...and get her help, and today she's living in an apartment, she’s doing great on her own and doing awesome," Kadolph said.
You can learn more about Palate Coffee and Tina's nonprofit, Love Missions on their website.
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