One man who heard about an injustice decided to stand up and do something about it. Brent Silkey, Community Advisor for the University of St. Thomas Chi Alpha, created the 30 for Freedom campaign and pledged to run 30 miles on his 30th birthday with 30 people to raise $30,000 to help put an end to sex trafficking.
A meeting with a US Marine and former youth student in December was the catalyst for 30 for Freedom. Silkey told him about his dream for his 30th birthday while the two were catching up. At the end of their get together the friend reached in his pocket and handed Silkey a $100 bill and told him it was for his dream.
“As a Marine I hear briefings about trafficking all the time. It’s pure evil. Let’s stop this – together.”
Silkey was in awe of how God moved through that interaction and decided that he was going to officially launch his 30 for Freedom campaign.
“There are so many things that people can do and sometimes we get paralyzed because the problem is so big, we only need to do our part and we can be a part of finding the solution to stopping this horrible thing,” Silkey said.
The biggest motivators for Silkey are his daughters. After he learned about sex trafficking statistics it really hit home for him. Human trafficking is a $32 billion-a- year industry, which is more than the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB annual revenues combined. Trafficking is tied with the drug industry, and it virtually happens everywhere according to statistics. The average age of victims being sex trafficked is 12-14 and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that anywhere from 100,000-300,000 children are at risk for commercial exploitation every year within our borders.
The money raised will go to two organizations that help rescue victims of sex trafficking and provide support and aid to these people, Free International and Project Rescue.
“I’ve been personally inspired because there are so many people that are not runners who are taking part in this but they heard about the need, picked up a pair of shoes, they started running and are making a difference in our world,” said Silkey. People in Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, Georgia, California, and Washington have joined the movement to end sex trafficking and have agreed to do their own chapter of 30 for Freedom.
To spread awareness, Silkey has been strategically utilizing every social media platform he has to talk about 30 for Freedom and has asked for others to do the same. Recently he asked participants to post a video on Facebook of why they are running. Silkey wants to bring awareness to the injustice that is happening in our backyards. The FBI has identified Minneapolis as one of 13 US cities that are the largest centers for child prostitution.
“It happens right where we live and so often we are completely unaware of it,” Silkey said. “This is a real issue, this is happening every single day; every 30 seconds someone becomes a victim of human trafficking. Everybody can do something. Everyone can cast a vision and everyone can promote freedom,” said Silkey.