‘Walk For Freedom’ Supports Human Trafficking Victims
On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people dressed in black marched through downtown New Bedford with tape over their mouths to spread awareness for human trafficking.
The event, called the Walk For Freedom, was organized by global activist group A21 and New Life New Bedford.
Speakers emphasized the reality of sex slavery in New England, not just around the world.
According to the group, a majority of human trafficking victims in New England are women between the ages of 16 and 28, with 95% being American citizens.
New Life New Bedford member Jill Allen said New Bedford's harbor is used to smuggle people in and out against their will, but it wasn't always that way.
"In the 1800's, people were still smuggled in through our harbor, but it was for their freedom," Allen said. "New Bedford was known as one of the premiere spots for the underground railroad."
Walk for Freedom organizer Markee Johnson said the group's goal isn't just to end human trafficking, but to support victims who survived.
"We stand in solidarity with governments. We stand in solidarity with law enforcement agencies, with non-profits, who are pouring out day-in and day-out to tell these victims that you are a survivor, and you are worth more," Johnson said, after being joined on-stage by two trafficking survivors.