We Applaud Stop The Trafficking Supporters

Hundreds gathered for a 5K run on a rainy Saturday to raise awareness and engage in the fight to stop human trafficking, with corporate support from Summit Orthopedics and medical support from Dr. Sarah Lehnert.

Community run/walk events encourage a healthy lifestyle through exercise, but sometimes they can accomplish much more. The Stop the Trafficking 5K walk/run on Saturday, June 13th brought our community together for an active morning that was also a statement against the sexual exploitation of Minnesota youth. Summit Orthopedics is among the corporate sponsors who supported the 2015 event with both a financial donation and medical support during the run. The run raised more than $20,000 in donations earmarked for local organizations that provide shelter and related support to trafficking victims in Minnesota.

This year, Congressman Erik Paulsen and Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at the race with local police sergeant Grant Snyder, who is dedicated to rescuing trafficked youth. All of the speakers sported the eye-catching blue race t-shirts given to event participants. “Our t-shirts help to maintain community awareness beyond the day of the race,” explains race medical director Dr. Sarah Lehnert of Summit Orthopedics. “My family and I have seen those t-shirts throughout the year, all over the state. They are designed to be unique and bold and spark conversations that spread awareness.”

Race coordinator Christine Erickson explains that once people become aware of the scope of the issue, they want to take action to stop it. “It is estimated that there are 100,000 American children exploited every year in our country; some put that number as high as 300,000” she says. “On any given night in Minnesota, 5500 youth are homeless or run away. These children are extremely vulnerable to the individuals who prey on them using emotional manipulation and drug addiction to draw them in. The average age of the children rescued by our police is 12 to 13 years old. These children come from every socio-economic level; no one is immune. When rescued youth reach us, the first step is to help them understand that they are victims, and that what has happened to them is not their fault. Recovery is a long process. Minnesota recently passed a safe harbor law that went into effect in September 2014. The law provides state funding to start caring for these rescued children, and our 5K event adds to the funds needed for their support.”

Summit Orthopedics thanks everyone who participated in Saturday’s race to get some exercise and raise awareness. “This is where all the work pays off,” says Dr. Lehnert. “On Saturday, there was so much energy and passion, and it was such a well-organized, safe, and meaningful event. It was so rewarding to see the expanding popularity and success of Stop the Trafficking. We want everyone who helped to know that with their support, we are making a big difference in the lives of these children.”

To learn more about how you can support Stop the Trafficking beyond race day, go to http://www.stopthetraffickingrun.org/

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