LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A group based in Buffalo, NY is raising money and awareness about human trafficking, including in central Virginia.
The FreeTHEM Walk departed from Lynchburg on Monday, May 3. Fourteen people started a 902-mile journey, walking a path that mimics the Underground Railroad.
The group is aiming to raise $1 million for Project Mona’s House, an organization that offers housing and services to survivors of trafficking.
The group also announced the opening of the Lynchburg chapter of Mona’s Group, which plans to break ground next year on a home in the Hill City for trafficking victims.
“My ancestors were victims of human trafficking,” said Kelly Diane Galloway, the organizer of the walk. “Bought and sold for labor. Bought and sold for sex. Bought and sold for entertainment. Bought and sold for medical experimentation.”
She says trafficking is modern-day slavery.
“Slavery still exists, and they are still people who deserve the right to be free.”
The group is planning to walk about 30 miles a day with some rest days, stopping in significant locations like Appomattox, where the Confederacy surrendered during the Civil War, and Auburn, NY, where Harriet Tubman is buried.
They are scheduled to arrive in Buffalo, NY, one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, on Juneteenth, an annual holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the U.S.