Walk for Freedom

And yet, what can they say? They can’t say anything. They aren’t given the chance to have a voice. All they can do is keep fighting, surviving, and moving forward.
— Johanna Keller, Project Cultivate Co-President

On Saturday, October 17, a group of Project Cultivate members participated in the A21 Campaign Walk for Freedom. They paraded the streets of Anaheim wearing black tape across their mouth. There may have been people who saw them and thought this was strange - but for what? Speaking up and raising awareness for a cause that for too long has been ignored, shoved under the rug, and forgotten? Sex trafficking is one of those issues that people just don't think much about, but just because you don't see the operation in broad daylight doesn't mean it doesn't exist. According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 4.5 MILLION people are victims of sexual exploitation all around the globe. But what's even more shocking is that it is happening right here, in the United States, in our backyard and under our noses. In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline received reports of 3,598 sex trafficking cases within the United States. 

We can't just let these victims suffer alone - as a society and community, I believe we have a responsibility to take care of one another, and that includes acknowledging the horrible and ugly truth of sex trafficking. The Walk for Freedom was a perfect opportunity for us to speak up and display that we stand united against sex trafficking. The judgmental glances we received for wearing tape across our face while walking the streets was nothing compared to the shame and judgements victims must feel. I am throughly convinced that human trafficking survivors are the strongest people I know. Johanna Keller perfectly pointed that out when she stated that they always keep fighting to survive - they fight against other people's judgements and they fight to have and keep an ordinary life. It is our calling to advocate and fight right along beside them. That is why I am so incredibly honored to be a part of Project Cultivate - we do everything in our power to empower survivors of human trafficking.

If you would like to get involved with Project Cultivate, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you! Also, if this article propelled you to join the next Walk for Freedom, check out the A21 Campaign website at a21.org.

Don't forget, everyone can make a difference.

By: Vanessa Burris, Managing Editor

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