Love True’s fourth annual Trek Against Trafficking was on October 1st. It was a dreary fall morning, just like every other morning of the week leading up to the event. Any runner knows that clouds make for perfect running weather. The weather held out for the estimated 300+ runners and walkers who attended the event.
The Trek Against Trafficking event has been a platform by which Love True has been able to spread the word about sex trafficking of minors in New Jersey. It reaches many who may otherwise never hear the message of Love True. As stated on their website, “Love True works to end sex trafficking through parallel efforts in prevention and restoration.” They work with survivors as well as many young people who are at risk for being trafficked. Who is at risk, you may ask? The answer is ANYONE. Children (and adults) from every demographic can be at risk. There is one common factor however that might make someone a more likely target, and that is vulnerability. A large part of Love True’s work is to raise awareness among children, teens, and the adults that surround them, as well as professionals and community members about the dangers of trafficking.
In addition, Love True is continually raising funds to open a Restoration Home for underage survivors of sexual exploitation. “Formerly trafficked girls will enter an accepting environment and discover that they are loved, valued and free,” according to Love True.
I have had the great pleasure to support and volunteer with Love True over the past year and a half. Our family attended the Trek both last year and this year, and it was my honor to serve as a part of the Trek planning committee this year. After nine months of planning, it was exciting to watch the events of the day unfold. Staff, volunteers, and committee members arrived at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater at 6:00 AM with only the illumination of car headlights and some portable flood lights to set up for the race. By 7:30, registrants were starting to arrive to prepare for their races. This year the USA Track and Field certified event featured the annual 5k, 1 mile walk and kids’ races (50 yard dash) as well as the first time addition of a 10k, a 5k, and 10k double race challenge. Competitive runners who are members of the USATF could earn points toward their Grand Prix competition.
The annual Trek is a unique event which provides many opportunities to be involved in the fight against human trafficking! Adult race shirts read “Get up and go change the world,” while kids’ shirts read “I might be small, but I’m making a BIG difference.” Runners, walkers, children, corporate sponsors, and an amazing team of hardworking volunteers came together to take a stand against child exploitation. Won’t you consider joining us next year? There’s something for everyone! Go to www.love-true.org for more information on what you can do to “get up and go change the world!”