I had the privilege to participate in the A21 Walk for Freedom in Pittsburgh, PA, in October. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with my three teenage daughters in order to give them a glimpse into the world of Human Trafficking.
A21 Walk for Freedom has a motto: “We are a nonprofit organization fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. We are the abolitionists of the 21st century. We work with you to free slaves and disrupt the demand.”
Over a hundred registered for this day, and as we all gathered together outside of Station Square, all kinds of emotions filled the air…excited, nervous, anxious…all as we waited to walk in silence through the city of Pittsburgh.
Each of us was given the option of purchasing a bandana with a victim’s name on it or we could put a piece of black duct tape over our mouths. We opted to put black duct tape over our mouths symbolizing the silence for victims as we walked.
Signs were handed out to multiple people to hold up while walking and mine said “1% of victims are ever rescued.” Think about that number for a minute…such a low number despite such a great number; 117 victims, that we know of, this year in Pittsburgh. How many more are there that we don’t know of and maybe never will?
As we walked, bystanders stopped and just watched, or clapped, honked their horns or some took flyers with information. How powerful this was being in silence as so many victims are in silence each day.
When we think of Human Trafficking, we think of other countries. We think that this doesn’t exist in ours, and we are so wrong as it is happening everywhere; so close as to be in our own back yard.
We need more walks, signs, and videos to get the word out that we can’t stop this on our own. We, as a nation, need to rally together to stop this inhumane treating of human beings that cross every age, sex, and race.
Psalm 82:4 (ESV)
“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Major Amy Merchant
I am a Salvation Army Officer, mother of three beautiful teenage daughters, loving life and my ministry God has allowed me and my husband to be a part of. I am currently serving in the Western Pennsylvania Division.