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Nicole and Natasha are survivors of sexual exploitation who are from right here in America. Priscilla is a survivor from Uganda. During the R4TL Charlotte 2020 run, these survivors will be highlighted and their names will be written on each participant's arm as a significant act of advocacy and awareness to run for their freedom and the many others with similar stories! If you want to have an even greater impact, begin sharing their stories now through the Raise Your Arm Challenge. Read Natasha, Nicole, and Priscilla's story and then select one of the following tiers within the Raise Your Arm Challenge to help share their stories and fight for freedom
Priscilla's Story: Priscilla is 13 years old living in Uganda. Her father died while she was young and her mother was sick with a mental illness. With her mother unable to properly care for Priscilla, she would often leave her home alone, leaving her vulnerable. Men would come to the house and sexually abuse her. With no food and no money she didn't no what to do or who would help. Scared to go home, she would live on the streets in the village. One day, local leaders became aware of the situation and connected her with Christine's House, Freedom 4/24's partner in Uganda. Once rescued, she was saved from a life of sexual abuse. Priscilla is in school again, learning new skills to make a living. Priscilla says, " I know that God saved me, and I believe my future is not goin to be the way I used to see it."
Nicole's Story: Nicole was referred to the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT), one of Freedom 4/24's partners in Knoxville, TN, by the Department of Children's services at 15 years old. Like many who are referred to the CCAHT for services, Nicole's trafficker was her older boyfriend. Because she loved him, it was easy for him to manipulate and exploit her - isolating her from her family and using her for his own financial gain. But when Nicole was connected with CCAHT, she found the support and trauma-informed services she needed. Nicole turns 18 next summer, and with ongoing support from CCAHT, she is working part-time and applying to colleges. Because of support from friends like you, survivors in Knoxville like Nicole have rediscovered hope.
Natasha's Story: Having lost her mother at a young age, Natasha and her family were forced to flee from their war-torn country where they eventually settled in Southwest Virginia. She grew up in poverty and was physically abused by a family member. At just 17 years old, Natasha's friends landlord offered them a chance at a new life and a job in New York City. When they arrived however, they were brought to a house where her friend was beaten and raped in front of her. Natasha was told she would work as an escort; forced to service up to 100 clients a night who paid to rape her. After two years of being trafficked, she ran away at her first chance to escape. Natasha was charged with attempting to traffic a minor and spent 12 months in prison. Recently, she made her way back to Street Ransom in Roanoke, VA (one of Freedom 4/24's partners) where she received treatment, encouragement, and additional resources. She is no longer a victim - but a survivor.
TIER 1: For 30 days leading up to your Run 4 Their Lives event, select one of the highlighted survivors of human trafficking and write her name on your arm for each of those 30 days. For each of those 30 days, pray for that woman and others like her, for the end of human trafficking and slavery, and for continued progress in shining light on this darkness. Share your survivor’s story with your family and friends and encourage them to become involved. Share your journey on social media using the hashtags #raiseyourarmchallenge and #freedom424.
TIER 2: Along with Tier 1, take the next step and invest in the life of a trafficking survivor by becoming a fundraiser. What can you do with $24?...5 cups of Starbucks, a tank of gas, a movie and popcorn...For $24, you can provide 1 week of education, 2 weeks of counseling, 3 weeks of housing, or 4 weeks of food for a trafficking survivor. Go to the Fundraise tab to become a fundraiser or to donate and again, share your journey on social media using the hashtags #raiseyourarmchallenge and #freedom424.
TIER 3: In addition to Tier 1 and 2, RUN for their lives. Running requires effort and action and may be difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. Think about the lives of these women and children and how their experiences have been hard, and run through your pain. Run for the girl whose name has been on your arm for the last 30 days. AND if you fundraise $50 or more, you can run for FREE!