In November 2012, a group of volunteers from around the world walked from Bangkok to Myanmar for the inaugural Freedom To Walk event in order to raise money and awareness for the global efforts to combat human trafficking. The success of the event was felt on a global scale. DREAM Project Foundation will once again produce the event and stand with the global community for the 2nd annual Freedom To Walk set for 9th-24th November 2013. The kick-off will take place 9th November starting at at 8:00a.m. at Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall in Central Bangkok.
The 15-day, 180-mile event aims to raise at least $100,000 for five beneficiary organizations and to educate Walkers about human trafficking. To meet these goals, Walkers who take part in the campaign have spent the upcoming months fundraising before arriving in Bangkok on November 9th. During the Walk, the group will spend their mornings walking for about six hours and then spend their afternoons learning about human trafficking. The group will start at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok, and cover between 15 and 20 miles a day through Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, and Kanchanaburi Provinces before reaching Three Pagodas Pass along the Thai-Burmese border on November 24th.
This year five organizations were chosen to receive grants that share the same vision of eradicating human trafficking through prevention, education and development. The SAGE Project and The Bay Area Anti Trafficking Coalition mark the U.S. grants recipients, The Pimali Project based in Thailand, Unseen in the U.K. and DREAM Project Foundation in both U.S. and Thailand.
“By selecting the five beneficiaries that we did, we are trying to raise awareness about the fact that trafficking takes place in virtually every country in the world, across multiple industries,” says Ali Weiner, one of the Walk’s co-founders. “The ILO recently released an estimate that 20.9 million people are in forced labor worldwide – in domestic servitude, agriculture work, factory labor, forced sex work, mining, fishing, and countless other industries. We want people to know that no matter where you live, this is an issue that touches your life.”
The campaign has garnered the interest of multiple individuals and organizations around the world. United States Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney who joined the group for the Walk’s first day on last year’s event and former US Presidential Candidate, Howard Dean, who walked for the last six days in 2012, is supporting the project again with zest. “When I learned about The Walk, I said ‘yes’ right away for two reasons.” said Dean. “First, human trafficking is an attack on the dignity and value of every human being, and needs to be stopped. And second, young people like Ali and her friends all over the world are taking on problems like this, and we all ought to support their leadership!”
Freedom to Walk is still accepting applications for Walkers who can complete the entire 16 days, and welcomes applications from individuals or families who are interested in joining for the first days or for shorter sections of the Walk. Full information is available at www.freedomtowalk.org, and interested individuals can register anytime.
For more information contact Erin Wessling at [email protected] or Anna
Pickren at [email protected]