Laps taken around state capitol for human trafficking awareness
JEFFERSON CITY - The outer walkways of the state capitol temporarily turned into a track to raise awareness for sex trafficking.
Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition (CMSHTC) held the first ever “Diamond’s March - 500 Laps for Freedom” on Sunday afternoon. Participants registered online prior to the vent and gathered sponsors to pledge monetary amounts to the number of laps a participant would complete.
CMSHTC intern Mallory Schoeppach said participants wore red to symbolize “stopping” human trafficking. She said all of the funds collected are donated to CMSHTC, which uses the funds to work in local communities to stop human trafficking.
“All of the funds go towards doing educational presentations and helping survivors,” Schoeppach said.
CMSHTC Volunteer Laura Thomason also works at a convenience store in Jefferson City. She said she sees human trafficking happening around her store regularly and was inspired to get involved with CMSHTC after seeing how prevalent the problem was in her community.
“This is happening, you know, right here,” Thomason said. "We have a lot of dismayed young people for them to victimize on and I’m mad."
Founding member of CMSHTC Nanette Ward said events such as the “Diamond March” spread awareness about the local presence and danger of human trafficking.
"You can’t fight the battle against crime, such as trafficking where human beings are used as commodities, and used in forced labor, and exploited in commercial sexual exploitation, if they don’t know that it exists,” Ward said.
Ward also said CMSHTC offers help and resources to victims of human trafficking in mid-Missouri. You can find a list of the counties they serve and a list of their resources here.