Topeka Rotarian Patty Mellard brought home a sobering message about the devastating reality of human trafficking in Kansas communities. Mellard is a 33 year Rotarian and a past President of the Topeka South Club. Currently she is also a member of the Rotary Club of Community Action Against Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is the act of exploiting another for personal gain, with an astounding 300,000 cases of sexual human trafficking occurring in the United States each year. The average age of the exploited is 12-14 and those individuals have an average life span of seven years without intervention. Relatives or partners make up 48% of the abusers and 20% of the male population are buyers. In the state of Kansas purchasing sex is only a misdemeanor. Incarcerated women are particularly vulnerable. Mellard described grants awarded the Community Action Club that assist, train and mentor that population. She thanked Lawrence Central Rotary for contributing to the purchase of winter care kits to support their work.
Mellard has held numerous District responsibilities and is a successful Rotary grant writer. She is partially retired from her business Key Staffing and Employment Solutions. She enjoys fishing, gardening and her 14 grand kids.