Picture this. It’s a nice Saturday morning and you are at a park, Rose Tree Park to be specific. You are walking (or running) with a purpose. There are people on every side of you who have just as much ambition and drive. But why are you at a park? Why are you running (or walking) with a purpose?
You are at the park on that nice Saturday morning because you are at an event, Project Libertad’s first annual Stride Saves Lives 5k Run/Walk. Your purpose, helping to raise funds to build a shelter for sex traffick survivors.
Project Libertad is a non-profit organization who has made it their mission to open compassionate shelter services that will aid women and girls who have survived sex trafficking, including those who struggle with addiction.
Sex trafficking involves a form of forced and/or coerced sexual exploitation and has become a significant and growing problem in the U.S. and the global community. In fact, it is now the third largest international crime industry. According to the international Labor Organization, 4.6 million people are trapped in sex trafficking globally. 800,000 people are trafficked internationally each year; among them, 80% are women and 50% are minors.
What of the United States? Just like the rest of the world, we are in an era of modern-day slavery. It is estimated between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year. According to the National Human Rights Hotline, 3,186 cases were reported so far in 2017. Of course the actually number of sex trafficked victims in the United States is much higher. Thousands upon thousands of victims have not been able to step forth to report their cases, whether it be out of fear or because they cannot get away from the people enslaving them. The same can be said for the Philadelphia area where only 116 cases were reported last year, however, officials estimate the real number to be in the thousands. Philadelphia is actually ranked among the top 15 cities in the United States for domestic sex trafficking, most likely due to its close proximity to other major cities such as New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C and Boston.
Not only are all of these women and girls victims of sex trafficking, but 85% of them are also battling substance abuse. A major problem being that when they women do find the courage to run away from their pimps, a lot of shelters will turn them away. Why? Because of their addictions.
Project Libertad won’t. They are tearing down the sobriety barriers to emergency housing for the sex trafficked women and girls in the greater Philadelphia area. Women won’t be turned away because of their substance abuse, they will be welcomed and aided in their recovers.
This is why the Strides Saves Lives 5k Walk/Run is important. It will help build shelters for sex trafficked women and girls, which in turn will help save the lives of thousands of victims of an inhumane crime.
The Stride Saves Lives 5k Walk/Run will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017
Location: Rose Tree Park
Time: Run begins – 10:00am
Registration begins – 8:00am
Not only will you be assisting in changing the lives of so many women and girls who were forced into sex trafficking, but you will also spending a fun saturday at the park where you can hear from a former survivor of sex trafficking and why she believes these shelters are important. Your can also participate to win fun prizes and goody bags, as well as rejoice on free t-shirts and food.
Look for more information on their website and if you are interested, you can become a sponsor, just clink on the link below.