Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Raising awareness about human trafficking one step at a time

By Bill Lohman, Richmond Times-Dispatch

They hiked into Richmond with sore feet, and then it rained — minor inconveniences considering their reason for being here.

Members of The FreeTHEM Walk team, 120 miles into a 900-mile trek to call attention to human trafficking, came through Richmond on Friday, having started last week in Lynchburg. They plan to finish in Buffalo, N.Y., in time for the city’s Juneteenth Festival, which celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

Their path somewhat follows the route of the Underground Railroad, the network of people that offered aid and safe houses to enslaved people heading north after escaping from the South in the 1800s.

In Richmond, the FreeTHEM Walk team made two most poignant stops: the White House of the Confederacy, where Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family lived during the Civil War; and the site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail in Shockoe Bottom, where humans were auctioned like merchandise.

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