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Lismore’s freedom walk highlights slavery in Australia

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freedomA Walk for Freedom in Lismore next Saturday (15 October) will shine a spotlight on the 27 million men, women, and children  trapped in slavery around the world, including 4,000 in Australia.

Walk for Freedom, a global fundraising and awareness event, will this year involve 269 walks in 39 countries, including 12 in Australia.

The 1.5km Walk For Freedom in Lismore will begin at 8.30am at Lismore Park (opposite Lismore Square)

A21, a global anti-human trafficking organisation, aims to raise even more awareness and funds with their 3rd annual Walk For Freedom.

Christine Caine, A21’s founder, says ‘One step at a time. One dollar at a time. One life at a time. We will abolish modern-day slavery.’

There are an estimated 4,300 slaves in Australia, according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2016 Global Slavery Index.

Erina Low, A21 Australia’s prevention, awareness and education coordinator, said there were countless Australians unaware that human trafficking not only exists ‘but that Australia is a destination country of this organised crime’.

The Walk For Freedom’s key distinguishing factor is a single-file line of participants dressed in black, silently walking to represent the 27 million slaves who are voiceless.

As the line moves throughout each city, information about human trafficking is distributed to onlookers.

‘To prevent falling victim to trafficking schemes, which target individual vulnerability, and to keep Australia’s youth safe within the nation and abroad, we need to educate ourselves and the next generation around this global injustice,’ Ms Low said.

According to the Australian Federal Police, 588 referrals for human trafficking practices such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, and forced marriage, were received between 2004 and 2015.

‘The Walk For Freedom exists to eradicate modern-day slavery, a global reality that affects every continent and economic structure, including Australia.

Des Holliday, Lismore Walk Host and participant. said ‘I want to be a voice for the voiceless and fight for those who can’t fight for the themselves’.

‘It is a privilege to walk to raise awareness in our community here in Lismore, to walk so others can walk free too.’

‘The goal of the walk is not to protest, hand out flyers, or simply stay fit, it is to take a united stance that will turn awareness into action.

‘The true multiplication of this freedom message will be seen around the world through media coverage and distributed on social media.

Blake Loaney, Sydney Walk Host., said ‘It’s something every Australian can get involved in, whether by joining a walk, spreading the word on social media, or giving to the cause, every Australian has something in their hand to make a difference and change someone’s life.’

Distance: 1.5km
What to Wear: All black, including the Walk For Freedom T-shirt if previously purchased.
Official Hashtag: #WalkForFreedom

About A21
A21 is a global anti-human trafficking organisation with 12 offices around the world. A21’s work is based on a four-paradigm strategy which includes: Prevention (awareness and education), Protection (crisis shelters and transition homes), Prosecution (legal response), and Partnership (government, police, and community). For more information, please visit www.A21.org.

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