On Saturday, September 7th at 9am, I'll be running the Traffick Free 3rd Annual 5K Run Against Traffick in Diversey Harbor. Last year I missed this race but a friend who ran it enjoyed it so much he signed up for it again this year and encouraged me to as well. So, I did.
In signing up and reading about the organization (Traffick Free) I got interested in their mission and got in touch with them to get a bit more information regarding both their organization and the 5K. I was able to get an interview with Executive Director Laura Ng, who has been working with Traffick Free since the beginning of 2010 (and has been Executive Director since September of that year).
Traffick Free was formed at the end of 2008 by "a handful of people" and though it is now a non-profit organization, it remains an all-volunteer organization to this day, with no paid positions. Their goal is "to provide the greater metropolitan area of Chicago with tools and sustainable programs to combat human trafficking and transform the lives of victims, perpetrators and communities."
The 5K, started in 2011 as a way to "reach guys about the issue of trafficking," has been held at Diversey Harbor for the past two years (2013 will be the third annual running of the race) and usually fields around 500 runners. Ng sees the 5K not only as a way to engage males in an issue that otherwise might not be on their radar, but also as a way to give people a way to take action in the fight against human trafficking.
While most races include a t-shirt (and the 5K Run Against Traffick has in the past) this year's race will include unisex bracelets made by survivors, an accessory that Ng sees as "something someone could wear every single day" to remind them of this race and the victims of human trafficking. (Dri-fit race shirts will also be available for purchase for $20).
Ng spends a good deal of time coordinating this race each year and I asked whether she'd ever run it (or would run it this year). She laughed, "I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to run this race!"
I also asked her about their need for volunteers and Ng said they have plenty of volunteers and are now just trying to register as many people as possible. If you're available on September 7th, check this one out.
Registration is $30 but if you register in a group of 6, one of the entries will be free.