Broward Bailiff Will Walk Thousands of Miles to End Human Trafficking, Again
Halfway into his 1,000-mile walk, Roger DeHart was stopped by a man in Holly Hill, S.C. It was a white man with Confederate flag, which made DeHart, a black man, uneasy.
"I thought 'oh boy,'" said DeHart, who was completing his walk from Fort Lauderdale to Washington D.C during the Spring of 2018 to raise awareness about human trafficking.
The man got off his truck and met DeHart with tears in his eyes and two cold Gatorades in his hands.
"I have two daughters, I've been following your story and I appreciate you so much," the man said.
They stood in the back of his truck and talked for hours.
"That goes to show that this is a cause everywhere," said DeHart. "I was reminded to not judge a look of a man but the heart of a man."
This is one of the many stories that DeHart says he'll never forget.
That was last year. On Tuesday, he joined the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition for their quarterly meeting to talk about his journey, as he prepares to walk thousands of miles once more. This time, the "No More Miles" walk will start on the California-Oregon state line and down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego.
"The physical part wasn’t the tough part," he said. "The most challenging part for me was mentally because I really wanted to reach the hearts of those trapped in the dark world of human trafficking."
DeHart has been a bailiff at the Broward courthouse for 15 years. That's where his interest in human trafficking started, it was also where he started his journey on foot. And it was this life experience that led him to create a non-profit organization First S.T.O.P--Saving Teens and Others from Predators--with the mission to eliminate human trafficking through education, advocacy and awareness for survivors.
"I just pray that someone knows somewhere that this man is doing a sacrificial walk so that they can feel that they have hope," he said.
The journey from Fort Lauderdale to the U.S. Capitol came with no shortage of other people who shared their stories with him.
"I felt torn many times because my heart hurt so much for what they've gone through, but it also motivated me to see that I'm doing this and these survivors are talking."