‘Silent Walk of Awareness’ aims to end sex trafficking

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:26 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Thursday is the United Nation’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

To raise awareness and money, locally a group of protesters took to the streets of Lincoln differently.

At this march, you couldn’t hear chants or songs, and that was on purpose.

"These women and these children and these victims are forced to be silent every day," said McKenzie Hodges one of the organizers. "They don't have a voice that can be heard so we believe walking in silence is the loudest cry."

Thursday evening, dozens of people marched from the Haymarket to the State Capitol and back to raise awareness and funds to end sex trafficking in the United States.

“Bigger than just sitting and sharing things on social media because I feel like that only goes so far,” said Riley Johnson, another organizer. “I wanted to make this movement and let it be known that it happens in Lincoln and Nebraska.”

COVID-19 seems to be adding to the problem as well. The Polaris Project, which runs the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, reported a 40 percent increase in trafficking this April compared to April 2019.

“900 children or trafficking victims are taken in Nebraska every month alone,” said Hodges. “We’re a huge hotspot because we’re in the Midwest along I-80.”

The group is not only hoping to raise awareness but to raise money to stop trafficking.

Operation Underground Railroad just because they’re a huge organization,” said Johnson. “They do tons of networking to bring awareness and they rescue victims. We specifically put this walk towards that but there’s a lot of places locally that people have been donating.”

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