Every 30 seconds, human trafficking claims a new victim. Children of all ages and backgrounds are victims, but this isn’t exclusive to third world countries. It happens throughout the U.S. and Michigan, which is ranked as one of the states with the highest human trafficking nationwide.
Nathan Lockwood, a nonEE desktop engineer II at DTE, is dedicated to putting a stop to human trafficking. He began working with Love Runs, which raises awareness of human trafficking and gathers funds to rescue and rehabilitate victims during the annual Detroit Free Press Marathon in October. All funds raised stay in Southeast Michigan with local organizations such as the Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Initiative, The S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) Project and more.
Each participant sets a goal to raise $1,440 dollars during the season while training for the race. This number is significant as it is the same as the number of minutes each day that a trafficking victim is enslaved.
“When I initially became involved with the organization, I had no idea that human trafficking was a problem in Metro Detroit,” said Lockwood. “I figured Love Runs would help me to check off a bucket list task of running a marathon and doing something good for the community. Then everything changed on my first S.O.A.P. outreach.”
Lockwood was exposed to The S.O.A.P Project through Love Runs. The organization focuses on educating and increasing awareness around the prevalence of human trafficking, to restore trafficked survivors and to prevent future trafficking. S.O.A.P. partners with local organizations and volunteers to distribute bars of soap wrapped in a red band with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number and provides resources to high-risk hotels.
Lockwood’s first event was before the Woodward Dream Cruise. He was sent to regional hotels to note any suspicious activity, share knowledge of trafficking with hotel staff and offer soap bars for the rooms as well as training for staff.
Lockwood ran his fourth marathon this year in October to raise money and volunteer his time to in an effort to end human trafficking.