5th Annual World Concern “Free Them” 5k/10k Helps Protect Women / Children from Trafficking

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Human trafficking is estimated to be the third largest criminal activity in the world, and more than 80% of trafficking victims are women and young girls. World Concern works to protect those vulnerable to modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation, and abuse in some of the poorest places in Southeast Asia and around the world.

The 5th Annual “Free Them” 5k/10k to help stop human trafficking will take place in Shoreline, on Saturday, May 11, 2013. The event helps raise awareness and funds for World Concern’s anti trafficking programs.

Last year’s event drew nearly 2,000 participants to World Concern’s headquarters, the 55-acre CRISTA Ministries campus in Shoreline. The event also raised $142,000 to help protect women and innocent children from becoming victims—children like Tong:

When we met 12-year-old Tong, she had not been to school for two years and was working on her parents’ rice farm in rural Laos, near the Thai border. Her family of 9 is often hungry. Tong was considering going to Thailand to find work. 
“I heard from friends that it is easy to earn income (in Thailand). I would like to try. Even just a little pay for any work, I will accept,” she said eagerly. 
Thankfully, Tong was offered job skills training through World Concern in her village. She learned to sew, and is now able to earn enough income selling traditional Lao skirts to help support her family. And, since she’ll no longer have to work in the rice fields, she can go back to school.

World Concern helps protect children like Tong with trafficking awareness programs, job skills training, and education. Parents and families are given opportunities to earn income, so their children are not at risk of being “sold” in order for younger siblings to survive. Long-term solutions like this help protect entire communities.

“Free Them” 5k/10k participants can raise funds to help this important cause, and many are enthusiastically sharing their fundraising pages through social media. Kirkland resident Mark LeMaster has already raised $4,536 from friends, family members, and coworkers.

“It was a great experience last year,” said LeMaster, who signed up just a week before the 2012 race after hearing about it on the radio. “I thought, I’m in for next year.” LeMaster has shared his fundraising page with anyone he can think of, and has been surprised at people’s willingness to get involved and donate. On his page he explains his reason for doing this, “(World Concern) is awesome and helps protect people from human trafficking, sexual exploitation (often young girls), and sexual slavery. These people are trafficked through threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power … They are trapped. This charity helps free them.”

Anyone interested in participating in the “Free Them” 5k/10k can register online

World Concern is a Christian global relief and development organization. With our supporters, our faith compels us to extend life-saving help and opportunity to people facing the most profound human challenges of extreme poverty. At World Concern, the solutions we offer, the work we do, creates lasting, sustainable change. Lasting change that provides lasting hope. Our areas of expertise include disaster response, clean water, education, food security, child protection, microfinance and health. World Concern is a member of the CRISTA family of ministries, which serve people around the world in the areas of education, global relief and development, youth camps, senior care and media.


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