Join the walk and take a stand against trafficking


Zobia Nayyar

Human trafficking is a serious issue that needs to be talked about­--it affects more people than one could think. The walk is open to everyone who wants to attend.

Zobia Nayyar, Managing Editor

The Spartans Against Human Trafficking (SAHT) club is taking part in an anti-human trafficking walk on June 3rd where anyone interested can participate.
The walk is taking place in the Fairfax County Government Center south lawn from 8-11 AM, led by JustAskVA, a trafficking awareness community organization. SAHT and a club at Oakton High School are asking for donations, developing t-shirts, and promoting the events in schools and communities.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world and has reached nearly every country. In every FCPS high school, there has been at least one reported case of sex trafficking.
“By having this walk, we hope to raise awareness and open the conversation,” said senior and president of SAHT Sophia Groder. “The theme is ‘stepping up, speaking out’ because we want to be a voice for those whose lives have been touched by human trafficking.”
This walk is open to everyone in the community and SAHT are hoping for a huge turnout. As more people attend, more awareness is raised towards human trafficking.
“Restricting it to WS students would lessen the impact of the walk,” said Groder. “We want everyone and anyone to come.”
The club started four years ago when a group of students approached SAHT sponsor Joanne Pendry after they read a book about sex trafficking and were concerned that it is a serious problem that affects the FCPS community.
“I was impressed by their sense of activism and enthusiasm and could not say no to them,” said Pendry. “Since then, I continue to be impressed by each wave of students who take up this cause with a determination to spread awareness.”
WSHS parent Jodi O’ Hern at JustAskVA came up with the idea of the walk. She has been coordinating with Groder throughout the process, including when dealing with finances.
“I’m really grateful for her help because I feel that sometimes I’m not taken seriously simply because I’m a high schooler,” said Groder.
Even a group of high schoolers can make a huge difference. The SAHT students have been working hard to organize the event and making sure it a successful.
“Instead of just writing letters and doing little things we wanted to do one big thing at the end of the year,” said senior and officer of SAHT Yurie Choe.
It’s important that every action to prevent human trafficking is taken.
“It’s really interesting to be in charge of planning this event, and knowing that I even have the ability to organize it as a high schooler [is] incredible,” said Groder. “We intend to spread awareness, thereby helping in prevention efforts.”