Path 2 Freedom organizes 5k to benefit victims of human trafficking



Bringing healing and safe haven to child victims of human trafficking.

January is National Trafficking in Persons Month and a local organization spent Saturday organizing its first 5k activity to help survivors of human trafficking.

Path 2 Freedom is on a mission to help those affected by human trafficking.

That’s a big deal in Florida, the third state with the highest number of cases.

In 2020, 738 victims of human trafficking were reported showing the need for organizations like these.

The race’s name is Magnolia 5K, which comes from their safe house Magnolia House for minor victims.

The organization is expanding into second homes as those teens become adults, which will help with life skills and career search so this cycle doesn’t continue.

“I think a lot of victims really either don’t identify with it, or they think they are criminals because they might think of themselves as prostitutes or sex workers. And that’s not what they are. In fact, if you’re under 18, whether you say you gave consent or not, it’s still illegal,” said Barb Bollinger, Path 2 Freedom’s director of development.

The house will be for people between the ages of 18 and 22.

Adults can then counsel younger victims, Bollinger said.

“We really see this as a win-win opportunity for the girls to rise up and be the leaders of our own show,” Bollinger said.

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