WATCH: A21 Walk for Freedom stops traffic in Ballito

Ballito's Linc church mobalised 300 people for the A21 Walk for Freedom on Saturday. Photo: Linc church

Did you see the single-file line of people dressed in black – with black tape across their mouths – walking through Ballito last Saturday?

Almost 400 locals took part, literally stopping traffic for the cause: to raise awearness around on human trafficing for sex and forced labour.

Reporter Erica Abrahams did some Facebook Live interviews during the march to find out more:

 

WATCH: An interview with Tina Chetty, a volunteer for the A21 walk in Ballito.

 

WATCH: Almost 400 people doing a silent walk to bring awareness to human slavery.

 

The A21 walk  organisers said 2016 was their largest awareness event to date, with more than 300 walks in 40 countries around the world.

The somber walk exists to reflect A21’s heart for freedom and justice, and it is ultimately designed to turn awareness into action.

Ballito’s march was organised by the dynamic members of Linc church in Salt Rock, and saw people silently marching from Ashton International college to the N2 bridge and back.

Linc pastor Tessa Jahnig said when she came across a book written by A21 founder Christine Cane, she knew she had to get involved.

“”Human trafficking is happening globally and even in our own country yet many people do not know about it. This is such a horrible topic that people do not talk about but they need to be more aware,” Jahnig said.

In an age of freedom and justice more than 27 million people remain trapped in a world of forced labour and sex trafficing in one of the fastest growing crimes in the world- human trafficking.

The average age of a trafficed victim is 12 years old. Photo: Linc church

The average age of a trafficked victim is 12 years old. Photo: Linc church

There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history.

It was in 2007 that A21 recognized the need for committment to combat the injustice of human trafficking by rescuing one life at a time.

After extensive research, planning, fund-raising, and relationship building, theye opened our first shelter for survivors of human trafficking at the end of 2008 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The first global #WalkForFreedom took place in 2014 and kicked off in Sydney, Australia, and made its way to South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, England, Canada, and the United States.

In 2015, there were more than 200 walks in 28 countries participated, and over 45 million people were reached through social media.

A21 is an international non-profit organisation that aims to end human trafficking by creating awareness, providing protection for victims, prosecuting perpetrators and partnering with people to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

A21 KZN representative Stace Berkley warned that anyone can fall victim to human trafficking.

“It could be your sister, your child, your mother or even your husband or father.

“Human trafficking sees no gender or race and only about one or two percent of victims are saved – that is a sad statistic.

“Imagine waking up one morning and you have been taken away from everything you know.

“Some of the girls who were rescued have told brutal stories. They are raped continuously, sometimes by groups of people. Then the next person or group comes in to take over.

“It is a nightmare where you are not treated like a person and your dignity is taken away from you.

“Sadly in most cases the only end to the torture is death.

“People need to stand together to end this. How? One step at a time,” said Berkley.

The walk to freedom campaign started three years ago and has been done globally in 270 cities. Sunday’s walk was the first in KZN.

Volunteer Tina Chetty said the event took a few months to plan.

“We have seen an incredible buy-in from the Ballito community.

“The goal was not only to raise funds but to make people aware of the plight of human trafficking,” she said.

Almost 400 people walked in single file up Ballito Drive, through Ballito's CBD, to the N2 and back. Photo: Linc church

Almost 400 people walked in single file up Ballito Drive, through Ballito’s CBD, to the N2 and back. Photo: Linc church

 

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  AUTHOR
Erica Abrahams
Journalist

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