Fashion show teaches about human trafficking

Kathryn Rush

Kent State University Stark Campus will host UNCHAINED, a human sex trafficking awareness fashion show Sept. 21.

UNCHAINED is a non-profit Columbus-based organization founded by Felicia Kalan and Stephanie Catani to educate and increase awareness about human sex trafficking.  The show is a combination of modeling, fashion and performance art.

“UNCHAINED tells the story of a survivor of human trafficking, the idea of setting a captive free,” Kalan said. “The end of the story is very hopeful, you’ll see chains, but you’ll also see beauty.”

Catani and Kalan believe the mission of their organization is to educate their audiences on the harsh realities of sex trafficking, as well as the hope and beauty born from survival.

Catani and Kalan chose UNCHAINED as the name of their organization to represent the release of victims of sex trafficking. Catani and Kalan’s work with UNCHAINED has resulted in 14 shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania and they hope to expand their audience across the country.

“This is a hot button issue and some people choose to stay away from it because they don’t know how to help,” Catani said. “This show allows people to look at this issue in a safe way and encourages them to engage.”

According to UNCHAINED’s website, the organization employs five part-time employees and relies on hundreds of volunteers to serve as models, makeup artists, hair stylists and many other important roles.

A clothing chain known as The Limited has partnered with UNCHAINED in support of their scholarship fund, according to the website. Bracelets are on sale at The Limited stores and all proceeds will be donated to the UNCHAINED scholarship fund, which is planned to be awarded for the first time in spring, 2016.  The application for the scholarship, which is only open to victims of human sex trafficking, is available on UNCHAINED’s website.

Kent State University Stark and UNCHAINED invite all students to attend the fashion show Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Conference Center on Kent State University Stark Campus. Admission to the event is free and all are encouraged to attend.

Kathryn Rush is the regionals and commuters beat reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]