On October 20, 2018 hundreds of people dressed in black moved silently, single-file through cities around the world to bring awareness to human trafficking. Two of our board members participated in these events for a21 in the Walk for Freedom.
From Marci Corea (APF University Peace Chapter Coordinator):
Although the Hagerstown walk was rather small, with about 100 participants, this was the largest turnout we've had in the three-year history of this event in this city. Many people in the community aren't aware that the intersection of two major interstate highways (70 and 81) that connect much of the region actually makes Hagerstown, MD, and the surrounding area a hotspot for trafficking in the Northeast. This is why we are so passionate about spreading the word about this issue right here in our backyard. During the walk through the busiest part of downtown Hagerstown, several people asked questions about the issue, and we were able to distribute informative fliers to passersby.
After the walk, we held a short "rally," featuring two dance numbers from a local dance company that centered around the struggle of human trafficking victims. We also had a child trafficking victim advocate from the local Dept. of Social Services share about stats for our area, as well as the incredibly moving testimony of a human trafficking survivor. After she spoke, there was not a dry eye in the park.
A local Human Trafficking Taskforce comprised of city, county, and state officials was represented, as well as a citizens group that meets each month to pray and plan more action in the community. We can't wait to see how God continues to grow this event in the future!
From Karah Thompson (APF Secretary):
Inspired by Marci’s past experience with this walk, we decided to get involved because it didn’t involve any shouting. Our little group of 7 joined with about 200 other people on a rainy Knoxville Saturday morning, in communion over a shared desire to bring freedom to those who are imprisoned in a life of slavery.
As the organizers and law enforcement officers shared details about trafficking from our own area and stories of children from our counties being rescued from horror, we were even more empowered to DO something. The knowledge of the closeness of evil and cruelty couldn’t be set aside. It is impossible to un-know these things.
Most striking was the silence and seriousness of the Walk for Freedom. We all found it to be a powerful tool to draw attention from the community but in a meaningful and peaceful way.
It was a privilege to share a morning with such a diverse group of people who have a heart for setting free the innocent and oppressed.