Freedom to Walk 2013

After the success of last year’s event, DREAM Project Foundation will once again stage Freedom To Walk this November.

The 15-day, 300km event from Nov. 9to 24 aims to raise at least $100,000 for five beneficiary organisations and to educate a corps of walkers about human trafficking. To meet these goals, walkers who take part in the campaign will spend the upcoming months fundraising before departing Bangkok on Nov. 9. During the Walk, the group will spend their mornings walking for about six hours, then spend their afternoons learning about human trafficking.

The group will start at Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall in Bangkok, and cover between 15 and 20 miles a day through Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, and Kanchanaburi Provinces before reaching Three Pagodas Pass along the Thai-Burmese border on Nov. 24.

Last year the funds raised by the walkers were split between five beneficiary organisations who are working to combat human trafficking across different industries on five continents: in the US, the Polaris Project; in Brazil, Cami; in Ghana International Organization of Migration (IOM); in the Netherlands, La Strada International; and in Thailand, UK Starfish Asia Foundation.

“By selecting the five beneficiaries that we did, we are trying to raise awareness about the fact that trafficking takes place in virtually every country in the world, across multiple industries,” says Ali Weiner, one of the Walk’s co-founders. “The ILO recently released an estimate that 20.9 million people are in forced labour worldwide – in domestic servitude, agriculture work, factory labour, forced sex work, mining, fishing, and countless other industries. We want people to know that no matter where you live, this is an issue that touches your life.”

The campaign has garnered the interest of multiple individuals and organisations around the world. US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney who joined the group for the Walk’s first day on last years event. Former US Presidential Candidate, Howard Dean, who walked for the last six days in 2012 is supporting the project again with zest.

“When I learned about The Walk, I said yes right away for two reasons,” says Dean. “First, human trafficking is an attack on the dignity and value of every human being, and needs to be stopped. And second, young people like Ali and Tanny [Walk co-founder with Ali Weiner] all over the world are taking on problems like this, and we all ought to support their leadership.”

Freedom to Walk is accepting applications for walkers who can complete the entire 16 days, and welcomes applications from individuals or families who are interested in joining just the first day or two of the Walk.