More than 200 people laced up their running shoes and hit the pavement, all for one cause, to spread awareness about human trafficking.
“House of Promise” in Lansing works to rescue young girls and women who have fallen victim to human trafficking.
Today, the organization held it’s 4th Annual “Steps to Freedom 5k” and officials say, this year was the biggest turnout yet.
“It could be my daughter, it could be somebody elses daughter, it could be you for that matter,” says Mike Hammond, Director of “Race to Freedom,” the second half of today’s race.
Hammond says, the primary time for a young girl to be human trafficked starts around age 12-22.
“All it takes is a look. They don’t have to be runaways they don’t have to be anything special, they just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in some cases,” says Hammond.
In Michigan, the stakes are even higher, he says, our state is the second in the country for human trafficking in the sex trade, just behind Nevada.
“When people find out what it’s about and that it’s happening right here, it breaks their hearts and they want to help,” says Shari Montgomery, Founder of House of Promise.
Protecting those young women, is something Montgomery knows all about. She leads an organization that works to rescue trafficked victims.
“We don’t have anywhere to put these girls when they get pulled out so they’re all going back into the life because they have no other place to go,” says Montgomery.
Montgomery says, House of Promise now has enough money to buy the land to build a home, and today’s 5K run, helped raise nearly $6,000 to go toward that cause. One that she hopes will become home to 100 women.
“The house is going to be girls that are pulled out of sex trafficking and it’ll be a two year program where they come in and we help them rebuild their lives,” says Montgomery.
She says, events like these, are so important for a cause like this.
“It was cold out here, it was hard to run, but im sure what these girls go through can’t even compare,” says runner, Audrey Sebolt.
House of Promise is currently looking at different properties in the Lansing area, it hopes to build and open a home by the end of this year.