About 170 Canberrans wearing black walked silently in single file around Lake Burley Griffin on Saturday afternoon to call for an end to modern-day slavery.
Organised by Fusion City Church in Palmerston, the walk was part of a worldwide movement, the A21 #WalkForFreedom, which aims “to raise awareness about the millions of men, women, and children who are still trapped in slavery today”.
The five-kilometre Canberra walk started at 2 pm at Queen Elizabeth Terrace and involved the bridge-to-bridge loop around Lake Burley Griffin.
Participants came from a range of churches and schools including Fusion City Church, Capital Edge Community Church, Life Unlimited Church, Cornerstone Christian Church, Trinity Christian School and the Australian National University.
One of the organisers, Nicole Moore from Fusion City Church, said that they were pleased with the success of the event, which raised $3,000 to help victims of slavery and made a real impact on the city.
“Human trafficking and slavery is a real issue not only in the world but also right here in Canberra,” Ms Moore said.
“We have a responsibility to stand up for those whose freedoms have been taken away from them – to say it’s not okay. We have a voice so we should use it.”
Ms Moore said it was the second year Fusion had run the walk in Canberra and the fourth time the walk has occurred globally.
“As we walked passed so many people attending Floriade we were able to spread the word on this important issue,” she said.
This year’s #WalkForFreedom took place in 400 cities across 50 nations, with single-file lines of people seen in landmark places all over the world – from in front of the Eiffel Tower in France to along the Hollywood Walk of Fame in America.
“We are utterly convinced that slavery can be eradicated in our lifetime,” said Christine Caine, the founder of A21, which is a global anti-human trafficking organisation.
“Walk For Freedom is definitely one of the most impacting things that we do at A21. It is a tangible, practical, and doable thing for every single person. All of us can put our feet on the pavement and use our steps to make a difference.”
Do you think modern-day slavery is an issue that needs more attention? Did you notice the walkers on Saturday and, if so, do you think the activity made an impact? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.