The weather on Saturday morning, 5th April 2014 was adverse with heavy rain pouring down over Gardens By The Bay skyline. However, this did not deter the enthusiastic and supportive group of over 1,200 people that took part in the inaugural STEPS In The Park event, choosing to run or walk in the 5km event, to help raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
STEPS in the Park was conceived by EmancipAsia, a Singapore based not for profit organisation made up entirely of volunteers, with the aim of enabling people to ‘take their first step’ towards gaining a better understanding of human trafficking and modern day slavery. Participants were also invited to take a further step by taking a pledge where they committed to ‘Raise awareness by telling at least 2 more people about the cause’, ‘Be more informed about sex and labour trafficking’ and to ‘Reduce their Slavery Footprint’. The supporting partners were Singapore Government Interagency Taskforce against Trafficking in Persons and ACS International Singapore. Joining the STEPS in the Park event today was Speaker of Parliament, Madam Halimah Yacob, who addressed the participants with a speech, before she signed the EmancipAsia ‘Pledge Board’, and flagged off the 5km non-competitive event.
Participants started the 5km route at the Silver Garden of Gardens By The Bay South, running or walking towards the Marina Barrage, turning towards Gardens By The Bay East before turning back along the same route back to the event ground at the Silver Garden. Back at the Silver Garden, participants were able to view “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking “- an ArtWorks for Freedom exhibition by photographer, Kay Chernush (check out my coverage of the Bought & Sold exhibition in 2012), as well as posters that informed viewers of the different dimensions of the subject, including Singapore’s National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons.
I felt great to be able to help out in a small way at the STEPS In The Park event by EmancipAsia, photographing the participants, writing and sharing about this event, helping to spread and raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The spirit and support of the participants running in the heavy rain or walking with umbrellas, showed great support and commitment to the cause of STEPS In The Park. Running in the heavy rain, the runners were still in great spirits, smiling for the cameras! The volunteers and helpers were awesome too, in encouraging the supporters/runners and making STEPS In The Park 2014 a successful event! Through my photography coverage/collection of STEPS In The Park on Flickr, I hope to share with my readers about STEPS In The Park by EmancipAsia.
You can do a part too! Share with your family, loved ones and friends on EmancipAsia, to help raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. For more information on EmancipAsia, check out the information below –
EmancipAsia Ltd. is a company limited by guarantee registered in Singapore in March 2012. Although registered as a company, our activities are not-for-profit, and our financial records are available for scrutiny to major donors. EmancipAsia is a volunteer run organization, led by our founder Ms Sylvia Lee.
Our mission is to combat human trafficking by raising awareness, advocating change and empowering communities, businesses and individuals to take action to end this horrific crime against humanity. While human trafficking is a global problem, our region of focus is the Asia-Pacific, with our base operations in Singapore.
Our mission is in line with the Singapore government’s national plan to fight human trafficking both in Singapore and the region. An inter-agency task force was formed in 2011 to combat what has been described as “a threat to Singapore’s security as well as its economic and social fabric”. The national plan has a four-pronged approach, namely, “prevent, prosecute, protect and partnership.” Raising awareness is a preventive measure.
* Information courtesy of EmancipAsia and Cohn-Wolfe XPR *