“Barefoot mile” walk raises awareness about human trafficking

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For the last seven years, Dr. Jeff Brodsky has been walking barefoot…no socks, no shoes, no matter where he goes.

He says the reason behind it is to stand in solidarity with the men and women who are victims of human trafficking.

“As long as my going barefoot would motivate even one person a year to action in a way that would help me to rescue even one more child a year, I would go barefoot the rest of my life,” said Brodsky.

Brodsky started going barefoot back in 2010 after his trip to Cambodia.

During his visit, he witnessed children being trafficked.

He says he wanted to bring attention to this horrible act so he founded the “Barefoot Mile” which is a nationally recognized organization that works to spread awareness about human trafficking.

“If a walk like this would help us to rescue even one, it’s worth it,” Brodsky stated.

Human trafficking is often times hidden in plain sight and according to Laine Chmiel, who is a Community Group Leader with the Michigan Abolitionist Project, also known as “MAP,” it can affect kids as young as 12-years-old.

“It’s one person, one woman, one child…that would be enough for me to do something about it,” Chmiel added.

Human trafficking happens in all parts of the world and because of how serious it is, Chmiel says it’s important to get educated and recognize the signs.

“If she’s changing her style of clothes all of a sudden she has new nice clothes on, if she’s not talking to her friends, if she’s being alienated like she has a new boyfriend and she’s just staying with this boyfriend all the time, she doesn’t answer her own phone, if you’re driving around in neighborhoods and you see a girl walking by herself and she just has like a grocery bag…that’s everything she owns is in that grocery bag, if they have tattoos on their neck it’s called branding it can be on their neck, it can be on their arms you’ll see maybe their name…these are all signs that somebody is being trafficked,” said Chmiel.

If today’s “Barefoot Mile” prompts people to fight against this worldwide problem, both Brodsky and Chmiel say it was a success.

More than $7,000 was raised during today’s event.

If you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking and want to help, you can call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-3737-888 and remember you can remain anonymous.

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