Friday, July 25, 2014

Freedom 4/24 to hold ‘Run for Their Lives’

Lynchburg to join in effort to stop global sex-trafficking industry by running at Heritage High School Oct. 20

A woman stands by the road, the glare of a red-lit traffic light casting crimson glares across the dark shadows under the eyes above her hollowed cheeks. Soon, a man will come and pick her up, and the rest of her night will become a repressed memory.

Photo provided

This was not the life this woman or many others wanted to choose, but due to circumstances in their lives, most are left with few options. If it means putting food on the table for themselves and their family, these women are forced to sell the only things they have left — their bodies.

For the third year in a row, the Run for Their Lives (RFTL) race will be held by Freedom 4/24 and aims to bring awareness of this issue to the Lynchburg community and raise funds to help get women out of the sex-trafficking business. Last year, there were more than 1,200 participants.

RFTL offers a 5K, 10K and a youth 1K race that will start at Heritage High School between Wards Ferry and Leesville Roads in Lynchburg on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 9 a.m. It is $24 for adults to sign up and $13 for the 1K.

Founded in Lynchburg by Christine Pettit, Freedom 4/24 is a successful non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness about a commonly-overlooked issue: sex trafficking. The organization also raises money to assist fellow Christian organizations that give aid and freedom to women affected by the sex-trafficking industry.

Running for change — According to the race’s website, there are 25 locations, including Lynchburg, where Run for Their Lives races will take place Oct. 20. Photo provided

According to Freedom 4/24, many women and young girls in poverty-stricken nations are forced into sex trafficking by their own families. That, or they do it because it is the only thing they can do for the survival of themselves and their loved ones.

RFTL races happen in many cities around the nation, including Lynchburg. Sarah Kline, the sister of Freedom 4/24’s founder, helps out at the Lynchburg race each year. Its main goal is to raise awareness of sex trafficking and to get people motivated to help women involved in it.

“Most believe that slavery ended back in Civil War times, but today there are more slaves than ever,” Kline said.

In the summer of 2008, Pettit went to Thailand with an organization called Beginnings, which works with a population of women who are exploited into the sex-trade industry. The idea of Freedom 4/24 came from the $24 that it costs to purchase a woman’s services in Thailand for a day.

According to Kline, Beginnings paid the money, but instead of buying the women’s service, they took them out of that lifestyle and showed them a life they never knew could exist. They provided them with food, healthcare, housing, education and hopes for permanent freedom. This also presented an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with these women.

For more information on how to sign up for the race or donate, visit r4tl.com.

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