Saturday, September 8, 2012
All over the country and right here in Wichita, young girls are being recruited by pimps and sold into prostitution. The issue has pushed a local mother to go above and beyond to help young people who have been caught up in human trafficking get back on track.
On Saturday, the group ICT S.O.S. hosted its first Race for Freedom 5K Run/Walk at Carpenter's Place in north Wichita. ICT S.O.S. founder Jennifer White says she was moved to act after following a link she found on Twitter to a news story about a sex trafficking case in Wichita that involved a 13-year-old girl.
"Two or three days after the story ran I sat down and read it... I just sat down and balled," said White. "At the time, my oldest daughter was 12 and so I really felt like I needed to get involved somehow."
White started taking steps to organize family members and volunteers to help her with the cause. She quickly put together her first fundraiser - a simple donation drive out of her own vehicle on a downtown street corner.
"The response was so great. We filled up my SUV twice and a van. It just kind of snowballed from there," she said.
After the success of her first fundraiser, White founded ICT S.O.S. It's a grassroots organization to help get young girls off the street by bringing volunteers and local professional organizations together to raise awareness and funding for the cause.
More than 900 runners participated in Saturday's race. White says she was stunned by the turnout.
"I had no idea they would be stacked up as far as the eye could see down the driveway," said White.
Organizers estimate the event raised more than $13,000. That money will go to help provide emergency housing to young girls who are rescued from human traffickers.
A survivor of sex trafficking will speak at Friends University on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhiney Fine Arts Center's Sebits Auditorium. For more information, contact Friends University's Student Affairs office at 316-295-5832. The event is open to the public but the topic material may not be appropriate for younger children.
Click here to learn more about human trafficking and how you can help support ICT S.O.S.