Buvette Masthead

Canberra’s Walk for Freedom

Valeriya Lloyd

On 15 October, Canberra will participate in a ‘Walk for Freedom’ to raise awareness of the plight of 27 million men, women and children.

These are the people who still suffer as victims of slavery, all over the world. It seems incredulous that in our 21st-century, with modern values prevalent in our society, abhorrent activities such as human trafficking can still exist. Sadly, this illegal trade in human misery has survived but is rarely exposed to the public.

According to the Global Slavery Index, 167 countries are involved in the modern slave trade. Data provided by anti-slavery organisation A21 indicates that only around two percent of victims are ever rescued.

“There are countless Australians who are unaware that human trafficking not only exists but that Australia is a destination country of this organised crime,” says Erina Low, A21 Australia’s Prevention, Awareness and Education Coordinator.

According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), 588 referrals for human trafficking practices such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, and forced marriage, were received by the AFP between just 2004 and 2015.

A21 is a worldwide organisation that provides valuable information about the rapidly growing human-trafficking business and does what it can to stop individuals from becoming the victims of human traffickers. It also protects survivors and provides legal advice to those who initiate criminal proceedings to prosecute traffickers. The organisation offers a wide range of donation programs and is highly active in its endeavours to partner with fundraising supporters, governmental agencies, and community members.

The Walk for Freedom event was established specifically to raise awareness and educate people about this important and often overlooked inhumane issue. Christine Caine, A21’s Founder, says fervently, “One step at a time. One dollar at a time. One life at a time. We will abolish modern-day slavery.”

The route for the walk will start off at Bowen Park in Barton and head along Lake Burley Griffin towards the World Flags and then loop back to Bowen Park. All participants are encouraged to dress in black and walk in a single-file line in silence, as they will be representing the voiceless victims of modern slavery. As participants move through the city, walkers will represent the message for everyone who observes the procession.

“To prevent falling victim to trafficking schemes, which targets individual vulnerability, and to keep Australia’s youth safe within the nation and abroad, we need to educate ourselves and the next generation around this global injustice,” explains Erina.

The aim of the walk is not about protesting but informing current and future generations of the problem and encouraging others to take part and support efforts to prevent human trafficking.

the essentials

What: Walk For Freedom Canberra
When: Saturday 15 October at 2pm
Where: Meet at Bowen Park, Barton to walk to the World Flags and then back to Bowen Park
Distance: 5km
Cost: Free
Find out more: www.a21.org


Valeriya Lloyd

Val is studying Communications in Media and Public Affairs at University of Canberra and has a great passion for writing (in two languages as she originally came to Canberra from Russia). Val enjoys writing about life generally, and sometimes from a fictional perspective. She often generates new ideas in sudden moments and admits that she has at least two diaries, where she writes her notes and inspiration for future stories. She loves to meet new people and showcase their talents and originality. Val is very social person, who loves the local lifestyle and the inner beauty of Canberra. More about the Author