My story began a few years ago. I listen to a local morning radio show and the host decided to organize a half marathon to raise money for victims of human trafficking. I felt a tugging on my heart almost immediately. “You need to do this” I would hear my heart saying to my head. My head had perfect comebacks though…”you can’t run a half marathon, you can’t even run for 10 minutes”, “the race in in Orlando at Disney, it is too expensive and too far”, etc, etc. So each year I would hear about this and day dream about being one of the women strong enough to participate, all the time also thinking I could never do it.

Then the Disney races booked up too fast and a new location had to be found. So the morning host found a local race that worked for them, and it allowed for the participants to choose anything from a 5K to a half marathon. So now I had no more excuses, no more fighting what my heart was screaming at my head to do. I decided if I was going to do this I was going to push myself. A 5K would not be enough; I decided to go for the 15K.

So in August 2013 I started training, in the 90 degree Florida heat and humidity I started training. When I started I really could not run for more than 5 minutes. I downloaded a “couch to 5K” app and ran 2-4 days a week. When I started I was sure this would not work, I could never do this, I have always hated running. I was ready to quit about 1 month in. I managed to keep going, and then suddenly one day I ran an entire mile nonstop. I realized I could do this, I could run. I kept myself thinking about why I was doing this…

So why did I do this? Because the thought of the modern day slave breaks my heart, it makes me tear up just to sit and write this. There are more slaves on earth today than at any time in history; approximately 21 million people around the world are enslaved right now. How is that possible with all the knowledge we have? How can we allow this to happen and still exist? The more I get involved in this the more I learn. The area I live is in the top 5 locations in the USA for human trafficking. As William Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”   I know now and I cannot look the other way.

So the task of the members of “Team Freedom” (the name of the group running for this cause) is to raise $400 each to go to Abolition International (  Abolition International works to provide quality aftercare for victims that have been rescued. As stated on AI’s website: “Rescue without personalized, comprehensive restorative care is often not rescue at all. The quality and oversight of counseling and care models, facility design, program development, as well as career and exit strategies are all vital components to a person’s journey of healing. “ 

So thanks to my wonderful Pro-Link Global colleagues I was able to not only raise the $400 needed to be part of this team, I was able to exceed my goal. My amazing Pro-Link Global colleagues were able to contribute to the total of $114,000 raised toward this cause. This experience has changed my life. I was able to find strength in myself that I never knew I had. As long as I have use of my legs I will be a part of this cause. I will run for those not free to run….yet.

To close I want to insert another quote from one of my favorite women, a modern day activist in the fight again human trafficking:

“Why didn’t you come sooner?
I offered them no excuses that day, but I did know that there were reasons. Reasons that, when we hear God’s call, when we feel that gentle (or not so gentle) urging of God’s Spirit for us to make a bold step, take a risk, serve others, save a life, commit – we so often hold back.
It’s because we don’t feel empowered.
We don’t feel qualified.
We think we lack the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the money, the experience, the education, the organization, the backing.
We feel like Moses…
Not me, God. I’m afraid. Weak. Poor. Stupid.
It has never been my desire to be daunted, to be afraid, to be unable to respond to God’s call.”
Christine Caine, Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do  

Kristina Galvan, Business Immigration Specialist