Saturday, August 15, 2009

DC Stop Child Trafficking Now Walk September 26th

On Saturday, September 26th 2009, the DC abolitionist community will come together for the first annual DC Stop Child Trafficking Now Walk. September is Combating Human Trafficking Month, and the DC walk will be part of national anti-trafficking efforts, including walks in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, according to the walk's website.

According to Ray Lian of
Stop Modern Slavery, one of the organizations planning the event, the walk has two main goals. First, it aims to bring together the DC anti-trafficking community, including NGOs, local authorities, businesses, and the media to raise awareness about modern slavery.

Second, the walk will raise money for anti-trafficking work, focusing primarily on efforts to fight child trafficking. 75% will go to
Stop Child Trafficking Now, an organization that works to address the demand side of child trafficking, promoting efforts to investigate the buyers/predators who patronize child victims of sex trafficking. 15% will go to Courtney's House, a safe-house in DC for child victims of sex trafficking, and 10% will go to DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Organizers expect that between 400-600 walkers will attend the inaugural walk, and they hope it will become an annual event that brings together the anti-slavery movement in DC and celebrates its work and accomplishments.

Lian says that he is excited that the walk will unite DC's anti-slavery movement. As he points out, many different organizations in DC are tackling various aspects of human trafficking, each with its own strengths and strategies; however, in the past these organizations seldom worked together. According to Lian, one goal of Stop Modern Slavery is to make DC slave free by bringing together these organizations to collaborate. The September walk will help establish a culture of collaboration amongst community members, NGO's, public sector, and private sector. According to Lian, "This walk represents the culmination of this strategy and effort. As a large and diverse grassroots organization, we are finally reaching a point where we have the attention of the various anti-slavery organization."

The walk has been organized entirely by part-time community volunteers, which has been a massive undertaking. Lian notes that this strategy has worked, though, because they have emphasized collaboration and have worked to leverage people's strengths and talents. Lian states, "We ascribe to Ghandi's belief that before you can change the world you must change yourself. So before we could ask the anti-slavery movement to work together, we had to first learn to work together ourselves. We are doing this today and I am proud to be part of this effort." And as Lian also notes, the money raised will help end child trafficking by putting child predators in prison and providing services to child victims of sex trafficking.

People can get involved in a number of ways:

1. WALK - Visit the
walk's website to sign-up.
2. PROMOTE - Help spread the word about the walk and recruit people to walk. Flyers can be found on the walk's website.
3. VOLUNTEER - Before the walk, volunteers can help with promotion, planning, organizing logistics, contacting celebrities and luminaries, and asking businesses for donations. During the event, they need help setting up, registering people, leading walkers, and cleaning up. To volunteer, email
4. DONATE - This walk is made possible entirely through the commitment of volunteers and the generosity of donors. To donate to the walk, please visit the walk's site and click 'Donate' on the left hand menu.

When: Saturday, September 26, 2009. Registration opens at 9:00am, walk beings at 10:00am.

Meridian Hill Park, 15th St. NW and Euclid St NW, Washington DC.

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