How Justice Loving Hikers are Moving Mountains Worldwide
In 2020, a group of hikers from southern Alberta decided they wanted to take action on behalf of women and girls who are trapped in sexual violence and human trafficking around the world.
They’d been involved in a fundraising event to provide refuge for victims of these crimes before. But they had a desire to do more—something bigger, bolder and more extreme.
And what’s more extreme than climbing the height of Mount Everest?
Instead of making the expensive and restrictive trip to the world’s most tallest and challenging summit, they decided to take on nine peaks in the Rocky Mountains that total its height—8,848 meters—in just three days.
For them, this journey symbolized the severity of sexual exploitation and the extreme difficulty of its eradication.
“When we summit the third mountain on the third day, we will have demonstrated that industry, this mountain, can be conquered,” said the group’s spokesperson, Judd Lee.
“Everyone can make a difference, if we simply move one stone at a time.”
The group’s name, Freedom 8848 is a direct call-out to Everest’s summit, and the long journey to freedom many women and girls have ahead of them.
And after their first year of a successful event, they decided to do this fundraiser each year since.
Determination to End Sexual Exploitation is Growing Every Year
Each individual who joins the full trek is encouraged to raise $8,848 in support of the work of IJM and other similar charities.
Since 2020, this group of volunteers, adventurers and people of faith have raised over $220,000 to help bring rescue, freedom and restoration to women and girls trapped in sexual violence and human trafficking around the world!
We’re so grateful for their generosity, bravery and determination to bring awareness to this cause. Especially because sex trafficking is one of the world’s fastest growing criminal industries.
In fact, 6.3 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
That means that each day, innocent people are forced to engage in sexual acts they did not consent to.
Every single one of them has a name, a story and a dream. Just like these hikers dreamed of climbing Mount Everest.
Here at IJM, we believe that we can end modern slavery and sexual exploitation in our lifetime.
With the dedication of groups like Freedom 8848, and caring people like you, we know it’s possible.
While the problem of sexual exploitation may sometimes feel like a mountain the size of Mount Everest, together, we can conquer it—one step at a time.
If you would like to be a part of ending sexual violence and human trafficking in our world, you can start your very own fundraiser here!