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Home News IJM Lighthouse Walks to Support Victims of Human Sex Trafficking

Participants gathered for Walk for Freedom 2017 on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Van Duser


By April Bayer

Groups of Concordia students traveled to Lincoln to participate in the No Girl for Sale: Walk for Freedom 2017, a walk dedicated to raising awareness about human sex trafficking in Nebraska, on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Many students who participated in the walk were members of Concordia’s International Justice Mission chapter, Lighthouse, while others walked with groups from local churches.

“It’s important for people to know that (trafficking) isn’t just happening overseas and in other countries, and there are people that are trying to do something about it here (in Nebraska),” junior and Lighthouse officer Sarah Van Duser said.

The walk was sponsored by I’ve Got a Name, an organization devoted to increasing awareness and raising money to combat sex trafficking both in Nebraska and around the world. The group managed to raise over $8,000 through event registration and online donations to support a Street Outreach Director, a specialist dedicated to serving people affected by human trafficking, street violence and homelessness.

The event’s website states that over 200 girls are put up for sale in the sex trade every 30 days in Lincoln alone.

Participants gathered at Broyhill Fountain on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and walked to the Nebraska State Capitol together, carrying signs and discussing issues surrounding human trafficking.

Keynote speaker and Nebraska Senator Patty Pansing Brooks spoke to the crowd from the steps of the Capitol about her hopes to revise Nebraska state laws so that those who buy and sell men and women in the sex trade are prosecuted, rather than the victims themselves.

Van Duser said that while she enjoyed listening to the senator’s presentation, she feels that the Walk for Freedom could do even more to raise awareness in the future.

“I wish there had been more conversation about trafficking and more statistics that could have gotten people talking because there could have been people there that weren’t entirely aware…about what was happening,” Van Duser said.

Van Duser encourages Concordia students interested in raising awareness about sex trafficking to participate in upcoming Lighthouse events, including a guest speaker from I’ve Got a Name on Nov. 28, and “Dressember”, an event where women around the world challenge themselves to wear dresses for the whole month of December to draw attention to the struggles of women who have been enslaved by the sex trade.

Those interested in learning more about how human sex trafficking affects victims in Nebraska and around the world can visit or  

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