BY MAYA CASAS
Photos courtesy of The Chaparral.
An anti-human trafficking walk was held at JPL Church in Rancho Mirage Oct. 20 by A21 Campaign. The walk started at 9 a.m. at the church and proceeded to Eisenhower Medical Center then back to the church.
Every year in October the A21 Campaign gets together and does walks throughout the globe to raise awareness and put an end to human trafficking. Lynn Nelson and Aprile Poag, attendees of JPL Church, helped organize the event. Everyone showed up wearing black t-shirts and carrying earphones to listen to the podcast that went along with the walk.
“Twenty years ago I went to the Philippines with my mom and noticed the trafficking. I am from Philippine descent and it’s always been in my heart to get involved. I learned that every October thousands of people walk together to fight and bring awareness to human trafficking. We wanted to bring [the walk] to our community.” said Nelson, one of the hosts of the first ever Coachella Valley Walk For Freedom. She also said that “The Desert is a hub for trafficking.”
Kristen Nelson, College of the Desert’s specialist for the International Education Program and daughter of Lynn Nelson, said “working at the college especially with young people, it’s important that we are aware and we can help each other as much as we can. I believe the walk is one of the ways I can do that.”
A21 Campaign is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to end the $150 billion industry of human trafficking. A21 operates in 14 different locations across the globe, including 12 different countries. According to their website, 1% of victims of human trafficking are rescued, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. The different types of trafficking include sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude and child soldiers.
To learn more about the A21 Campaign, visit www.A21.org.