When first learning about the problem of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking — that in Canada alone, thousands of people are being exploited right here every day, it can seem insurmountable. It can feel hopeless. The problem can feel too big for any one person to make a difference. But as long as people are asking, “what can I do?” there is hope.
There are many ways we as individuals can effect change, and today we want to talk about one of those ways: the Freedom 8848 Everest Challenge. Four friends Judd, Michael, Rem, and Shawn, created this incredible event where they set out to hike the metric equivalent of Everest, 8848 metres, to fundraise for prevention, rescue, and restoration. Next Step Ministries (NSM) is proud to be the restoration partner of Freedom 8848, alongside Brave Education for Trafficking Prevention (Brave Education) as the prevention partner, and International Justice Mission (IJM) as the rescue partner.
Freedom 8848 will be taking place August 19-22, 2021, with opportunities for individuals and teams to participate in person or remotely. Prior to the event, athletes will get connected with the organizations through bi-weekly webinars to learn about who NSM, Brave Education, and IJM are and what we’re each doing to combat sexual exploitation and trafficking.
There are four ways (at varying activity levels) you can join as an athlete:
1. Full summit – 8848m elevation gain – 9 mountains in 3 days
2. Base camp – 5600m elevation gain – 6 mountains in 3 days
3. Mountain Mover – 3000m elevation gain – 3 mountains in 3 days
4. Remote Everest Challenge – Teams of participants will collectively climb 8848m as a team in their desired location – you can participate wherever you are. You don’t even have to leave your home!
Below you’ll read statements from the hearts of Shawn, Michael, Judd, and Rem, the four incredible men who created Freedom 8848:
Shawn “We all need to work together to achieve the goal of eradicating human trafficking, and it’s much easier when we are united and holding each other up on the mission.”
Michael “I believe the sex trafficking industry can be abolished and its starts with sharing the truths with all who will listen.”
Judd “I hope that while the world begins to join this climb, that they don’t only climb the equivalent of Everest: they move the equivalent of Everest. Laws are changed, mindsets are changed, hearts are transformed, people are healed, visions are fulfilled.”
Rem “If men are the cause of most of the injustice in the world, men need to engage in fighting that injustice. Good men need to stand up and fight.”
Freedom 8848 is a great way to support prevention, rescue, and restoration, as well as a great way to get connected with other people who have a passion for social justice.
*Registration for the event in Alberta will be capped at 30 participants.