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A group of women walked together in Lone Tree to help end human trafficking.The Freedom Steps walk took place around the Bluffs Regional Park Trail in Lone Tree on Feb. 25. The 24 women who participated in the hike helped raise $5,725 for the cause.The Freedom Challenge is a ministry run by Operation Mobilization. Both are Christian ministries that help free enslaved women and children from around the world through their 54 project sites. The participants in the Freedom Challenge raise money through physical trials, such as rock climbing or endurance races.“It is kind of equating the difficulty of what (enslaved people) face,” said Patsy Lange, the Colorado event coordinator. “They’re climbing their own mountains out of trafficking and out of prostitution.”This was the first year that the Freedom Challenge had a Freedom Steps event. More than 200 participants attended events in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Colorado.Nicole Turner, the Freedom Challenge’s administrator at the headquarters in Atlanta, organized the Georgia Freedom Steps event.“The community showed their support really well,” Turner said. “We empower and engage women in the states to rise up and challenge themselves physically to fund projects overseas.”Lange, through the Freedom Steps event, is raising money to participate in a three-day Freedom Challenge climb in Rocky Mountain National Park from July 8-12.Local climbs, such as the upcoming Rocky Mountain National Park trip, require a donation of at least $3,500 per participant. The Freedom Steps event was created to help raise these funds.All money raised is donated to Operation Mobilization — the additional $800 in trip costs are covered by participants.Funds go to a variety of projects in 118 different countries run by Operation Mobilization. The donations go to prevent, develop, rescue and restore individuals from human trafficking. Money goes to women’s and children’s education, aid for women to start their own businesses and to directly help free enslaved people around the world.In 2015, Lange visited France with a team to help the French branch of the Operation Mobilization ministry provide aid and rehabilitation to prostitutes and enslaved people.Lange’s interest in ending human trafficking started in 2012 when the pastor of her church, Mission Hills Church in Littleton, asked Lange to give a presentation on the issue. She started attending and organizing Colorado events for the Freedom Challenge and Operation Mobilization.In 2014, the Rocky Mountain National Park climbing trip totaled 75 women and in 2016, 160 women participated.As of now, Lange is the only person on her team participating in the summer climb in Rocky Mountain National Park.“I love to hike and I love to walk,” Lange said. “To be able to bring together awareness and feel like I am helping women and children is a perfect fit for me.”More informationTo learn more, participate or donate to the Freedom Challenge or Operation Mobilization, visitomusa.org and thefreedomchallenge.com
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