On October 23rd, the annual 5K D.C. Stop Modern Slavery Walk was held to once again raise awareness to the issue of human trafficking, to connect those interested in becoming abolitionists with anti-human trafficking organizations, and to allow supporters to raise money for what are continually underfunded efforts both here in the United States and abroad. Over 1,960 people participated in the walk to raise over $67,000 in donations. Richmond Justice Initiative volunteer, Mary Hampton Elam was one of the participants in this event. Thirteen different organizations participated in the walk, among numerous college students, and volunteers. Organizations such as Courtney’s House, Shared Hope International, Friends of Prajwala USA, The Protection Project, Challenging Heights, Bridge to Freedom foundation, and Global Centurion were just some of the organizations represented. Walkers were led by survivors of human trafficking, and encouraged along the way by music, cheers from the crowds, and chants such as, “What do we want??….FREEDOM!!” “When do we want it???….NOW!!!” It was truly a family event with parents pushing their babies in strollers, little children skippling along the route, and dog lovers walking their canines.
A rally was held at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall following the walk, where various advocates and sex slavery survivors spoke about human trafficking. A performance was also held by the Idan Raichel Trio. Activities awaited the walkers such as a resource fair and art exhibition. If you would like to know more about D.C. Stop Modern Slavery, check our their site at: https://www.stopmodernslavery.org. – Tina Nyczepir