Slavery has never ended, it has merely taken 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 4th, 31:20 will host the 6th annual Justice Run at the beautiful Hudson Gardens. A while ago I sat down with Jenny, one of the founders 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 raced in the first Justice Run. That year about $7,500.00 was raised. Each year the race has succeeded and grown. Last year, 75 volunteers worked and nearly 1,000 people raced at the Hudson Gardens to raise $44,000.00. Because the Justice Run has no staff just hard working volunteers, 100% of the money generated through entry fees is donated. Each year Jenny and her husband find a title sponsor to help fund the run so the entry fees can be given directly to those who are fighting trafficking.
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
Other non-profits also have the opportunity to recruit runners and keep the funds from their registrations for their own organizations.
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 takes personal steps to fight slavery in our generation. 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
We hope to see you at the Justice Run. Let’s work together towards ending slavery in our lifetime.