Human Rights Walkathon Seeks Education to Prevent Abuse  

500 people gather in St. Petersburg Florida to end torture, abuse, child labor, human trafficking, and inhumane working conditions.
On Saturday, March 5th a coalition of human rights groups: the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Youth for Human Rights Florida, United for Human Rights and the Human Rights Group Inc., in coordination with the City of St. Petersburg, held the 5th Annual Human Rights Walkathon in North Straub Park, in downtown St. Petersburg. The walk’s purpose was to bring about public awareness of the extensive violations of human rights ongoing in the world today. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 800,000 victims are trafficked across international boarders each year, and the human trafficking industry is now a $3.16 billion industry worldwide. 

Through their individual and collective actions, the coalition of groups is demanding a halt to human trafficking and other human rights violations including slavery, torture, child labor. 

Speakers and entertainment followed the walkathon. The event was free and many passers-by joined in the walk and other activities. 

Speakers included: 

Sarasota Mayor Kelly M. Kirschner. Mayor Kelly M. Kirschner works with immigrants rights group, Unidos Now. More information on the group can be found at www.unidosnow.org

Telisia Espinosa, human trafficking survivor. Through adversity, degradation and hardship as a human trafficked victim, Telisia has gained understanding, self respect, and a change of life with a purpose. She is on a campaign to educate others on her experiences. 

Linda Drazkowski, representative of Youth for Human Rights. “Education is the first step in stomping out human rights violations,” says event founder and human rights advocate Linda Drazkowski. “Our goal is to help unite all people in human rights and to make these rights a reality. We believe that through education we can end war, discrimination and intolerance.” 

The purpose of the Human Rights Walkathon is to forward the rights set forth and proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10th, 1948. Rights laid out by the declaration include: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Videos of each of the thirty human rights, as well as the complete United Nations Declaration of Human Rights can be found at www.youthforhumanrights.org

The Human Rights Walkathon is co-sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg and presented by United for Human Rights, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Youth for Human Rights Florida and The Human Rights Group.