An annual fundraiser for victims of human trafficking is coming to Prescott.

Beacon Bags, a charity organization dedicated to helping victims and survivors of human trafficking by providing them with clothes and other essential items, is preparing its fifth annual Walk 4 Freedom event. The fundraising event will see volunteers walk through Prescott alongside a representative from Victims Services of Leeds and Grenville to raise awareness about local human trafficking.

“The very most important thing for me, in doing this walk, and our charity, is to bring awareness to the people in our area about human trafficking,” says Denise March, the event’s organizer and the founder of Beacon Bags. “It’s not something that’s just overseas somewhere, it’s not something that’s just down in Toronto or Montreal. But because we’re on that 401 corridor and the 416, human trafficking is happening in the rural areas, and COVID has escalated and caused the traffickers to be more aggressive.”

“We want people to be aware, so our children are safe, and someone’s looking out for that,” says March.

March also says that all the money raised is going towards building an emergency shelter for women and girls who are rescued from traffickers. 

“By the end of 2021, I want to have my sights on something that I think, ‘this is the place that’s gonna work,’” she said.

“I’ve seen a few places, but they’re too far. Like, one was down in Cobourg, one was up in Merrickville,” says March. “For my first shelter, I really, really, really feel that I want to stay in the Leeds and Grenville area. From there, we’ll expand. We want a place where these women and girls can come outside, not feel threatened, not feel judged, but, you know, they’ve got that space.”

The walk is scheduled for September 25th, starting at 8:30 am. Visit the Beacon Bags website or Facebook page for more details.