SANFORD, Fla. – A Sanford woman, who was a trafficking victim as a child, has opened up the dialogue about human trafficking through her coffee shop while raising money for her nonprofit helping victims in South America.
Tina Kadolph said she knew nothing about opening a coffee shop. In her youth, she didn't think she would have much of a future at all, let alone become a business owner.
"I was actually trafficked as a child and so for many years while there are still a lot of memories that have been blocked out. There are things that I still don't remember today," Kadolph said.
It began at the age of 4. Her mother was a prostitute and would take her with her, which continued for more than 10 years.
"I didn't speak about it for many years," Kadolph said. "I was afraid of judgment and how people would treat me."
That changed in 2015, when she and her husband opened Palate Coffee Brewery in Sanford. The message behind the shop was to open a dialogue about human trafficking.
"I realized being able to tell my story -- even though I don't like it, it's never easy -- it's worth it if I can rescue, save and help others," Kadolph said.
The coffee shop doesn't hire employees, but operates with the help of two dozen volunteers.
The money that would go to pay an employee goes into the nonprofit, Love Missions, created by Kadolph to help human trafficking victims in South America.
Love Missions supplies hygiene bags and is in the process of establishing a safe house.
Kadolph said she has seen human trafficking firsthand in South America, which is why she focused her efforts there.
"In South America, where we're putting our safe house, there was a young lady there that was trafficked at the age of 7. Her mom actually sold her for 25 American dollars," Kadolph said.
In the almost three years of having the coffee shop, she has shared her story with customers who come in. One woman in particular still stands out to her.
"She had fled her trafficker from Fort Lauderdale. She had stolen enough money and she had jumped on a bus and just wherever it was going to drop her off is where she was going to end. She ended up in Sanford. (She) was wandering the streets and happened to come into Palate to use the bathroom and I got in a conversation with her," Kadolph said.
The young woman is now in a safe house and Kadolph still keeps in touch with her.
Even the walls, tables and name itself have a story behind them.
"When you look at palates, they are whatever, what the world says is valuables on top of the palates. They throw the palates away because they're trash. But if you look around, you don't see trash, you see beauty that were made from palates," Kadolph said. "I feel like the world right now so many times look at victims of trafficking as trash, but they just need to see that there's value and beauty and treasure there that we need to help bring to that place. So it might take a little work, but we can get them to that place."
Kadolph plans to open the safe house in South America in September. She is always looking for volunteers to help with the shop or make hygiene bags. Anyone who would like to help can visit lovemissions.net.