Walk Highlights Sex Trafficking; Local Advocates Say Child Prostitution Is a Form of Slavery

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA CONRAD

For most Americans, Independence Day represents freedom and the right to pursue happiness.

But for young homeless Americans and those affected by child sex trafficking, freedom rings hollow.

That's why Sudie Norman, 59, was at The Jacksonville Landing Sunday evening, instead of cooking out with her family. She spent her Independence Day raising awareness about some Americans' lack of freedom, walking around The Landing with her husband and about 15 others, holding signs reading "children should not be sold" and "child prostitution is slavery."

Norman and others, including mayoral candidate Robert Hutcherson and his family, were part of the Freedom Walk, a child sex trafficking awareness walk put on by Forsaken Generation, a national organization that works with nonprofits to raise awareness about child homelessness and sex trafficking.

The Freedom Walk took place at the Landing and earlier at the SeaWalk Pavilion.

Independence Day was specifically chosen for the walk to drive home the point that children involved in sex trafficking are not free, said Sean Wrench, executive director of Forsaken Generation.

"To me it's all about freedom; this is what our soldiers are dying for," said Norman, the mother of an Army Ranger and executive director of Boy Scouts in Nassau County.

"For me it's a passion because I am so greatly disturbed by this," said Norman.

Norman is also a facilitator for Door of Hope, a program for sexually abused women through Celebration Church in Orange Park. …