On Saturday, October 14th 2017, over 140 people dressed up in dark clothes and walked silently around the city of Maastricht drawing attention to an important topic: human slavery.
The Walk for Freedom, event which took place in more than 40 countries, was organized by A21 and had as its main goal to alert modern society that slavery still exists. According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 45.8 million people who are currently subject to some kind of slavery around the world today. Although this number is high, tackling the issue without the support of the public can be troublesome. Marlies Ruitenberg, from Sittard, is the organizer of Walk for Freedom Maastricht. When asked if she thought there was an impact in the community, she replied that there was a great impact on the “people that marched and also in the people that saw silent faces crossing the streets.” Natascha van Broekhuizen, from Sittard, who brought her daughter to the march, said, “You could see people in the streets watching surprised.”
The walk also had many participants from different parts of the Limburg area. Minja Kelders, from Heerlem, one of the people that participated in the march, stated that she became very motivated after she heard the stories of the rescued former slaves. She says, “I didn’t realize there were so many people still held captive in slavery,” she adds, “when you come to this walk, you see so many people marching towards one goal, this is very impactful.”
While the number of people involved in human trafficking is increasing, walks and marches like this are essential to turn awareness into action.
Pictures’ credit: Leonardo Sena