Despite a few raindrops, Purgatory Creek Park bustled with activity early Saturday morning, as more than 1,000 people gathered there to participate in the ninth annual Stop the Trafficking 5K Walk/Run for Justice.
Hosted by Grace Church, the City of Eden Prairie, and the Eden Prairie Police Department, the event brought the community together to create awareness of human trafficking.
From a participation and fundraising standpoint, it was a record-breaking year for the 5K.
Over $50,000 in proceeds will be donated to the following Minnesota organizations: ACT United, Corrie’s House, Breaking Free and Terebinth Refuge, plus Shear Love in Thailand.
Before the run began, speakers CeCe Terlouw of Terebinth Refuge, a Christ-centered shelter and safe home that provides hope and healing services to survivors of sex trafficking, and Flora Whitfield of Breaking Free, a survivor-led provider of housing services to victims of sex trafficking and their children in Minnesota, talked of how modern-day slavery touches all facets of society.
Also speaking were Eden Prairie Police Chief Matt Sackett, Detective Carter Staaf, and race director Christine Erickson, who is also director of at-risk ministries at Grace Church.
“There’s much division in our world today, so it was encouraging to see so many people unite together for a very important cause, to stop the buying and selling of human beings,” Erickson said. “It’s not okay in our communities or anywhere around the world. We’re excited to donate over $50,000 to five organizations that are committed to ending human trafficking.”