BISHOP DAVID RICE
A major component of dealing with Human Trafficking is awareness. In early 2015, a video entitled The Trafficked Life was produced, focusing on issues in the Bakersfield area. This video was shown in most of the communities of the Central Valley where the Episcopal Church has a presence, usually in conjunction with other faith communities. For many, this was the first mile of the journey.
In October 2015, the second milestone was crossed, as over seventy riders rode their bicycles over portions of the 763 miles (a few hearty souls rode the entire route!). This event continued to raise awareness to trafficking. Riders also had sponsorship and raised over $50,000 for a variety of agencies that work directly with people who have been trafficked.
The third mile – or the third step – in this process is still unfolding. The issues are still real and in our midst. Our awareness is being raised. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Each of us needs to consider, prayerfully, our responses. Many of the local organizations throughout the valley can help deal with a global problem on a local basis.