By Jennifer Wakefield, Regent IJM Volunteer Coor.
“Kids are Not for Sale” and “Not in Our City,” were just two of the emotional messages declared by advocates of human rights displaying signs on the Lincoln Memorial stairs on Saturday, Oct. 23. Nearly 30 Regent students and about 1,000 others gathered in the nation’s capital for the D.C. Stop Modern Slavery (SMS) Walk.
“I am passionate about people who have been affected by human trafficking and feel that this is a way I can help. I would love to do more in the future,” said Krysta Yates, a psychology major in the School of Undergraduate Studies.
At this event, students learned that modern slavery not only exists overseas but also in the United States. During the Walk, they learned ways to shed light on these problems and become a voice for the voiceless.
Joni Small, an undergraduate communications major who participated said, “I wanted to come to this walk because it is a cause I really felt in my heart to be a part of. We seek justice in a world that is in desperate need of it.”
The SMS was organized entirely by volunteers, meaning 100 percent of the proceeds from the walk benefit the fight against human trafficking. The day’s events included a 3.1 mile walk, speeches from leaders in the anti-trafficking movement, an information fair and live music. Many nonprofit organizations were also present to raise awareness.
“Essentially, we are here to promote awareness of a horrific event that is not only taking place around the world, but in the United States and right here in D.C. Human dignity is one of the most sacred things that should be protected and heard,” said Rachel Moore of Shared Hope International.
Volunteers at this year’s SMS walk raised $98,000, more than double the amount they raised last year. “We need to end this demand for human-trafficking victims; we needed to end that demand yesterday,” Moore said.