By Jennifer Earle Strickland ( illustration by Edreys Wajed)
Exuberant, exhilarated, excited, exceptional, and extraordinary, are just a few of the alliterative adjectives that describe Kelly Diane Galloway. This motivating force behind the fight against human trafficking has masterminded yet another vehicle to deliver consciousness to the global community about the heinous crime that exploits women, children, and men, worldwide.
Ms. Galloway, the visionary and organizer of orphanages in Guatemala, India, and Nepal; a school in India, where she teaches literacy; and Mona’s House, the refuge where victims of trafficking become victorious, is still on the move, in spite of current limitations, courtesy of Covid-19.
Her goal is to raise awareness of this other pandemic that, according to 2020 estimates provided by the International Labor Organization (ILO), involve approximately 25 million victims, and generates about $150 billion in annual profits. Galloway estimates that the number comprising this population of modern-day slaves is more likely closer to 40 million, and desires for the world to know the signs, symptoms, effects, and solutions, to this ongoing travesty that is taking a drastic toll against society.
Currently Galloway and her team are planning “THE FREETHEM WALK,” where they will lead the pedestrian journey from Lynchburg, Virginia to Buffalo, NY. She will honor the God-Given vision that “THE FREETHEM WALK” will follow the path of the Underground Railroad, the secret route of passage for enslaved Africans to escape to freedom, in Canada. Her objective is to, with 100 volunteers, travel this journey and share with those along the way, the comparison of the despicable and indistinguishable characteristics of current day human trafficking to the African ancestral history of the slave industry that provided the financial foundation for this country.
Galloway remembers that it was on June 19, 2019 that she had the epiphany for the 902 mile* walk, when she was angered at the realization that so many don’t know the history and significance of the commemoration of that date, and the parallel aspects of human trafficking of the 21st century. The official date of the first Juneteenth celebration, is June 19, 1865, when Texas became the last Confederate state to declare freedom to the enslaved. However, unlike the enslavement of Black people, modern day human trafficking disregards ethnicity or community.
Originally scheduled to begin in May 2020 and end in Buffalo, just before the Juneteenth Festival, due to the safety of its participants amid the impact of the coronavirus, the walk is postponed until further notice. Galloway’s eye-opening documentary “Sold Next Door” will be part of the 2020 Juneteenth virtual experience. The film shares the stories of victims of human trafficking, responses of law enforcement officials, and explores the heinous crime will be shown through internet streams.
Galloway and her team are still doing what’s necessary, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to prepare for what might, at points, become a tedious journey, and will announce the new dates, via the Challenger, as soon as they’re determined. She is also kicing off THE FREETHEM CHALLENGE June 1 through June 18 inviting people (individuals or teams) to walk, ride, swim, skate or run 902 miles collectively in effort to raise funds in support of Project Mona’s house as part of the virtual Juneteenth Celebration. Details for the challenge can be found on Instagram @thefreethemwalk and on thefreethemwalk.com.
What’s next for Kelly Diane Galloway? “Mona’s Cottage”: a housing facility that will be equipped with resources that will accommodate and support the restoration of 125; and the “FREETHEM” concert. Continue to monitor projectmonashouse.com and thefreethemwalk.com for more information, to support, or to volunteer your time and energy to any of the causes championed by this awesome woman. – Peace and Love
Signs to Look Out For
According to Ms. Galloway, these are some of the signs and symptoms of someone who may be a victim of human trafficking:
•Night walkers, or “hanging on street corners”
•Truancy from school, or employment
•Instant wealth (the trafficker’s way of gaining trust)
•Untreated injuries •Timidity (one person speaks for all others
•Participation in pornography
•Victims may include runaways, and bias according to gender or sexual orientation
The Free Them Challenge Starts June 1st through the 18th as part of the Juneteenth Virtual Experience so get yourself and or your teams ready to put in 902 miles in support of Project Mona’s House and Help them Raise 50K by June 19th!! (larger promo above)
Challenge Goal: Track your miles from June 1- June 18. Each team is challenged to walk, ride, swim, skate or run 902 miles collectively. For you individual abolitionist we challenge you to walk 30 miles. Ask friends and family and co-workers to join The FreeTHEM Challenge also by donating $1 for every mile you go. Find the challenge thefreethemwalk.com or click image above) Using the hashtag #TheFreeTHEMChallenge on all of your social media posts, tag them @thefreethemwalk so they can share your support and effort for this very important cause related activity to end human trafficking. Click flyer for details .