Running for a reason

By Dave Benton |, Amanda Porterfield |

Published 04/24 2014 10:47AM

Updated 04/28 2014 04:06PM

Update: 10:01 pm, 4/25/14, Friday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- She ran in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon 5K Friday alongside her family. The reason? To help children in need.

Thousands of people are sold through human trafficking every year. About one third are children. After hearing these facts, one family decided to do something about it. Thousands were off to the races, but this family is thinking about more than just crossing the finish line.

"People have heard about it a little bit, but not very much. And, if they do know that it exists, they don't know if anything can be done about it."

Johnathon Eltrevoog, his wife and his mother came from Ottawa to run in the 5K as part of WBGL's Team Abolition International Group. To help raise money and awareness of human trafficking taking place throughout the world.

"I just hope people join the fight because it's really important."

The money raised will go to a new home for kids who survive sex trafficking.

"A lot of times, when they are rescued, they end up back on the streets. The run away because it's the only thing they know and so, this is going to be a home that brings them together and gives them hope for a different kinds of future."

Eltrevoog's mother wanted to support her son and daughter-in-law.

"It just moved my heart and I thought I just had to get involved."

Neither mom nor son are runners, but their inexperience won't stop them from crossing the finish line.

"The cause is actually the thing that is going to keep me going through the race."

Eltrevoog and his wife each passed the finish line in less than 26 minutes. Not bad for a guy who doesn't consider himself a runner.
Original: 10:00 pm, 4/23/14, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- A team running in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon is lacing up its sneakers to fight human trafficking around the world. Illinois is in the top five when it comes to human trafficking. Some in the state are hitting the pavement to help an organization which helps victims. WCIA-3's Dave Benton brings us the story.

"It's a very dark thing and it's sad that it happens in our world and the only thing to do is to do something."

That's why Meridith Foster and a team of hundreds are doing something to end human trafficking.

"We have a lot of organizations that fight sex trafficking, some rescue kids, some prosecute perpetrators. Abolition really focuses on the restoration."

Team Abolition International has been raising money since January and will run the half-marathon.

"Some people did spaghetti dinners. I had a chili supper for my birthday and invited people to buy a brick for the house instead of presents."

"They're not runners. They're not people who have participated. They're moms, dads, kids and grandmothers. People who have learned about the issue realize the tragedy and feel like they have to do something. And, so they're willing to lace up their shoes and be part of our team."

The money will go to a facility where rescued kids can stay for 18 months. It also pays for doctors who specialize in helping human trafficking victims lead normal lives.

"Once kids are rescued, the experience is so traumatic that they really need a speci8alized program to be restored."

Foster says 27 million people around the world are caught in human trafficking. Each year, 100,000 kids in the U.S. In Chicago, it's 16,000 alone.

After spreading the word, Foster found some in Central Illinois.

"It's heartbreaking to hear how it has affected someone's life. One woman in particular that I emailed with says it's literally taken years where she feels she has a normal life. The money that our team is raising this weekend is literally going to touch kids all over the world."

So far, the team has raised $40,000.

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