Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is it?
Walk Against Traffick is the fundraising arm of the Hard Places Community. Each year we put on the Walk Against Traffick Walk-a-Thon that helps us raise money towards our programs and centers around the world.
When is it?
Spring 2016 - check the sign-up page to see when the walk in your area may be. They will be taking place throughout the Spring and some into the Summer.
Why are we doing this?
Because right now, in a place not so very far away, children as young as three and four years old are being sold to grown men for sex. One of the first children we met who had been abused is Maeng and we continually come back to her story.
She was five when we met her at our Kids Club one day. She was a spunky little thing with beautiful, long black hair. This Kids Club is held in a former brothel in the most notorious village of Cambodia for child sex trafficking. We met there every day with around 100 children who would come from the dilapidated shacks and spend over two hours singing songs, dancing, doing art projects, eating snacks, and teaching English.
Maeng wasn't shy that first day she came to Kids Club. She bounced in like she owned the place and took a seat on the floor with the other children. Quickly, she became the new appendage for the staff! Maeng loved to walk holding tight to our hands, or wrap herself around our legs so we could barely walk! She never missed a Kids Club event-she knew all the songs and the accompanying actions. She was your average five-year-old, in so many ways. Then, one day we noticed that Maeng had a hard time walking correctly. She walked with her legs spread far apart, as if she was hurt. We noticed that Maeng had trouble sitting down to do our art projects, so we let her stand and do them, leaning on the wall.
We learned that almost every single night of the week, Maeng was sold for sex. She was five. Grown men came into the village and bought Maeng from her grandmother. And then she turned six, and it continued, night after night, day after day.
Today Maeng is free. She is no longer sold. She is no longer in bondage to this hideous form of slavery. We took a stand. We spoke up.
Maeng's story is very typical, but it happens in many different ways. Some children are held in lock-down brothels where they never see the sun and are forced to sleep with ten to twelve men per day. They are tortured with cigarettes, sewer rats, and fear, and will bear the physical scars of it for a lifetime. Some are sold, like Maeng, by their own mothers and their own family members right out of the their homes on a nightly basis, returning at 3am to bleed in silence, both inside and out. Some are sold by their parents for their virginity, and then sewn back up so that they can be sold again. All are hurting. All are waiting. All are traveling down a road that they are too young, or too innocent, to escape, in the back of some "bad man's" car. We can help stop that car. We can help stop these children from experiencing even more heartbreak, if we work together. If we walk together this spring, we can help bring child sex trafficking to a grinding halt. Will you join us in a journey to end child sex trafficking?
How does it work?
In every state across the nation, people will be coming together this Spring to participate in W.A.T. events. Some will walk ten miles across their cities or towns, others will run 5ks. Participants in the race set their fundraising goal at $100. Depending on the type of event your city has, you can do this several ways. If you are walking/running 10 miles then each participant can have ten sponsors. Each sponsor gives $1 per mile, in advance, to the walker. We are not rigid about this format however. So walks may chose to do 5 miles with each walker getting $2 from 5 people instead. You can also split the actual walking amongst a group of people, we just ask that each person still try and raise the $100 each. However it works for your area is ok with us! The walker then turns in the money in the Walk Against Traffick envelope we will provide to his/her area coordinator. The area coordinator takes care of getting the money to our USA headquarters, who then gets the money to Walk Against Traffick headquarters in South East Asia. All money given is 501c3 tax deductible if given online or by check.
Exactly what will the money be used for?
Funds raised through Walk Against Traffick will be used directly to help stop child sex trafficking. Stopping sex trafficking involves, but is not limited to, the following:
Prevention. Walk Against Traffick has parked our organization smack in the middle of some of the biggest intersections for child prostitution in South East Asia. We've done it by starting Kids' Clubs, which are sweet, safe havens where a kid can come and be a kid again, if only for a few hours each day. We dream of having these clubs all across the continent in the darkest, most vile places of sex trafficking. Through Kids' Club, children and teens can come and learn that their bodies were not meant for such horrific acts of violence against them, and that there is a hope and a future for each one of them. They can learn English and life skills that can help provide money for their families. They can learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy, between safe touch and un-safe touch, between good and evil. They can practice social and developmental skills in a caring environment where these are modeled through loving example. They can come and learn to be kids again.
Staffing. Without our incredible staff, we've got nobody to get in the way of the pedophiles who come to take our children! W.A.T. currently employs both international and local staff, with the emphasis being placed on empowering the local people to reach their own. Our desire is to train, equip, and raise up leaders among South East Asians, with us Western trainers fading into the background as soon as possible.
Research. Without the research, we've got no statistics to fuel the fire that keeps going long after we are ready to stop! When we hear that two fifty-year old men have come into our city and taken a 7 and a 9-year-old for sex, we get fired up!!! As long as there is demand, there will be product. As long as there are pedophiles, there will be children for sale. W.A.T. has employed a team to do the most up-to-date research available in some of the most noted areas of child prostitution. Our researchers will gather data that is useful to both local authorities and Western justice agencies, in hopes of slowing down the demand.
Punlok Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center for Boys. In a city having many opportunities for sexually exploited girls to be restored, Phnom Penh is lacking in similar services for the many young boys who are sold for sex on a regular basis. From the research done by Alastair Hilton’s team and reported in I Thought it Could Never Happen to Boys, we believe that most street-living and street-working boys will not thrive in an institutionalized setting such as the aftercare facilities that are common for rescued girls. That is why the HPC has launched "Punlok Thmey" (poon-lock ta-my), a drop in center just for boys. Our center offers the same services provided by in-patient after-care, but in an out-patient setting. This out-patient setting allows boys to stay within their own homes, when safe, or in their own communities when at all possible. Punlok Thmey targets boys 5-24 who are at risk of being trafficked, sexually exploited, and subjected to forced labor. We provide programs such as English and computer classes, counseling, play groups, sports programs, Kids Club, and family social work to promote boys who are healthy, well-balanced, confident and employable. We believe that these programs will help those we serve to break the cycles of poverty and abuse resulting in a positive social impact for their communities.
Prook Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center for Girls. This is another rest stop on the long, winding road toward a clear blue horizon. Sometimes when a girl has been freed from sexual slavery, the girl is so traumatized, so overly sexualized, or so accustomed to life on the streets that she will not stay in an after-care facility with high walls and a guard at the gate. That is why we have adopted the day center model used at Punlok Thmey to our new safe house and girls center called Prook Thmey (prook - ta-my), or New Mornings in English. Our goal at Prook Thmey Prevention and Restoration for Girls is to see every girl who has been sexually abused set free, and to prevent those who have not yet been sold from being sold. We do this through a daily Kids Club program in the public park, where the girls learn, like the boys mentioned above, about decision-making, choices, hope, love, and relationship. We do this through art therapy, where the girls can slap their pain onto a canvas and bring the shame into the daylight.
How do I sign up?
Head over to our Sign-up page. Simply find your state, and send and email the coordinator in your area or click the link to sign-up online. If you don't see your area listed under your state, then you can contact our USA Director directly to find out what it takes to be an area coordinator for your area! The more participants we have, the sooner children are set free. You can join as an individual, as a family, as a group, as a team-anybody can walk!
How can I donate money if I can't participate?
Donations can be mailed to
Attn: Walk Against Traffick/The Hard Places Community
International Outreach Ministries
P.O. Box 2140
McComb, MS 39649
Or through the donate button.