ST. LOUIS - The first time someone mentioned human trafficking to Kimberly Ritter, she had only a vague idea of what it was. "Isn't that something that happens in third-world countries?" she asked.
That was 2008. Today Ms. Ritter might be said to have two careers. On the one hand, she's still a meeting planner, a 20-year veteran of the travel and hospitality industry. But she now expends almost as much energy fighting child sex trafficking.
It all started with Ritter's largest client, the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In her work as a senior account manager at Nix Conference & Meeting Management in St. Louis, Ritter books meeting venues for this group of Roman Catholic nuns. The sisters devote themselves to causes like opposition to the death penalty and the fight to stamp out disposable plastic drinking bottles. Ritter has come to greatly admire their stands, she says.
But the sisters took her by surprise one day when they talked about an upcoming conference and said that they wanted to stay at a hotel that took a stand against child sex trafficking.
"I have learned so much from the sisters over the years," she says. So she began educating herself on child sex trafficking. What she learned came as a shock...
...Ritter's company, Nix, was founded in 1985 by Richard Nix Sr. But today its seven employees are all women. Intrigued by Ritter's campaign, the entire group - led by principals Molly Hackett and Jane Quinn - decided to throw its weight into the fight... read more