Tanzania (MNN) — Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and to kick it off, a group of 46 women is climbing mountains to combat human trafficking–literally.
After training for weeks to be able to finish the feat, the Operation Mobilization group of women from around the world has chosen today to start a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. As part of a campaign called The Freedom Climb, this group of women will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Lysa McMillan is one of the climbers. She says she and the other 45 ladies feel so passionate about putting an end to modern day slavery–which makes up the realities of over 27 million lives worldwide–that they feel called to shout out about it.
"Sometimes when you have a crisis that serious, you need to shout from the rooftops. You need to do something extreme in order to put attention on such a serious issue," says McMillan. "So that's where Kilimanjaro comes in. Kilimanjaro becomes that extreme measure of doing something kind of radical, kind of 'off the wall,' to say ‘We want to put light on a dark issue. We want to shout from the rooftops about an injustice that needs to end.'"
McMillan approaches that objective literally: "A lot of people don't realize, but Kilimanjaro is known as the roof of Africa."
The Freedom Climb has many facets. The women are not only raising awareness but also funds to combat oppression, slavery, exploitation, and global trafficking. Each woman raised $10,000 to go toward OM projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe that prevent trafficking or provide care for those who have been affected by it.
This climb is also symbolic of the challenging climb that victims face while climbing out of oppression and into freedom. All of the climbers are women, just as 80% of trafficked victims worldwide are women.
The summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is called "Uhuru Peak." Uhuru is the Swahili word for "freedom" and reinforces the hope that women and children worldwide can be free from their oppression.
None of the 46 women in Tanzania today are professional climbers, but they are united in, and motivated by, the purpose of being a voice for the voiceless. Some of the climbers were victims of sex trafficking and other injustices.
The climbers are also passionate about the Gospel. Their funds will go to OM projects that share and proclaim the ultimate freedom in Jesus Christ.
To follow The Freedom Climb, visit www.thefreedomclimb.net and sign up for e-mail updates. You can learn more and support the climbers there.