Walk for freedom

A21’s Walk for Freedom is a global event to make a stand against human trafficking. Marie Kite and Leonie Pothan have helped organise Cambridge’s walk on October 19.

People will be dressed in black, raising signs and walking in silence in single file on October 19 in Cambridge to support the millions of human trafficking victims across the globe.

As part of the global A21 Walk for Freedom event, people can meet at Victoria Square at 2pm, to walk down the main street to Countdown and back.

Organisers Marie Kite and Leonie Pothan say this is an event that happens on the same day worldwide in 450 locations in 50 countries and reaching over 70 million people.

A21 is a global anti-human trafficking organisation with 14 offices in 12 countries.

The Walk for Freedom event has been running annually for six years and is a walk to raise money and awareness for human trafficking.

Pothan says she decided to get involved after attending a Sistas annual women’s conference where co-founder of the A21 campaign Christine Caine spoke on the topic, and Kite after watching a documentary felt she needed to make a difference.

“People assume human trafficking isn’t a big issue in New Zealand, but it is here in industry’s like agriculture, construction, dairy and food service for slave labour,” says Kite.

In NZ children often from minority communities are exploited in sex trafficking. NZ had eight convictions for human trafficking in the period between 2018-2019.

Pothan says that slavery today is the worst it’s ever been in history.

“Only 1% of victims are ever rescued and it’s estimated to be a $218 billion industry.

“The different areas of modern-day slavery include sex trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour, involuntary domestic servitude and child soldiers.”

She says A21’s mission statement is to abolish slavery everywhere forever.

“Their process is to reach, rescue and restore.

“They reach the vulnerable through prevention and awareness and they help rescue with local authorities and then have home set ups to help with restoration.”

Kite and Pothan say the goal is to have 100 people walk in Cambridge.

“If 100 walkers raise $100 that would make a huge difference.”

Other organisers for this event include Sara Kenny, Zoe Forrest and Louise Harvey.

Apparel is available to buy online.

For more information contact Marie Kite at mariekite33@gmail.com or Leonie Pothan at lpothan@gmail.com and to register for Walk for Freedom visit the website A21.org/Walk and follow the A21 campaign on Instagram and Facebook.

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