Slavery never ended, it just took on different forms. 31:20 and the Justice Run are doing what we can to fight slavery, otherwise known as human trafficking. On Sunday morning October 5th, 31:20 will host the 5th annual Justice Run at the beautiful Hudson Gardens in Littleton. A few nights ago, I sat down with Jenny, the founder of the race, and asked her some questions. Here is what I learned about the genesis of the Justice Run and how each of us can do something small to work towards ending slavery.
Around 2009, some of Jenny’s close friends moved to Germany to start the Justice Project. Their mission was to reach out to women who are being trafficked in Germany, where prostitution is legal. Through their friends, Jenny and her husband began to learn about human trafficking. They wanted to support their friends by fundraising for them and, since Jenny is runner, she decided that putting on a race would be a great fundraising idea.
In it’s first year in 2010, around 200 people ran in the first Justice Run. That year about $7,500.00 was raised. Each year the race has grown. Last year, 100 volunteers worked and 700 people raced at the Hudson Gardens to raise $20,000.00. Over the last 4 years, the race has raised over $60,000 for anti-trafficking non-profits. Because the Justice Run has no staff, only hard working volunteers, 100% of the money generated through entry fees and donations goes toward the cause. Each year, Jenny and her husband find a title sponsor (like Courtesy Acura) to help cover the expense of putting on the run.
This year, the money that is raised during the race will be divided among three groups:
-The Justice Project, which now has teams working in Charlotte, North Carolina in addition to Southern Germany. www.thejusticeproject.net
-The Orrange family, who is partnering with an aftercare facility in Sierra Leone, Africa. It is the first program in Sierra Leone to minister to women and children who have been trafficked and work to reunify them with their families. www.worldhope.org
-The Denver Street School-Hope Campus. The Hope Campus is a Denver area aftercare program for 12-17 year old girls who have been sexually exploited. The girls receive education, counseling, mentoring, discipleship and vocational training. www.denverstreetschool.org
The Justice Run has also invited other anti-trafficking non-profits to raise money for their own work against trafficking by fundraising through the race. For more information about fundraising, please click here.
The purpose of the Justice Run is to raise awareness, fundraise for those who are on the ground working with the victims, and to motivate others to take personal steps to fight slavery in our generation. To register for the race, click here.
Educating yourself on the issue is a good way to start. Check out these resources:
www.thirtyonetwenty.org has a Human Trafficking page with quick facts on the issue
www.endslaverynow.org has an extended list of books and movies on human trafficking
Movies to watch:
Trade of Innocents- www.tradeofinnocents.com
Not Today- www.nottodaythemovie.com
Hope to see you on October 5th!