Wembley lawyer completes London Marathon to raise funds for trafficked and exploited children

Christina Kumar completed the London Marathon in aid of trafficked children. Picture: IJM

Christina Kumar completed the London Marathon in aid of trafficked children. Picture: IJM - Credit: Archant

A Wembley lawyer completed the virtual London Marathon ahead of Anti-Slavery Day to help free children living in modern slavery.

Solicitor Christina Kumar saw first hand the brutal reality of child trafficking and exploitation while working for anti-slavery organisation International Justice Mission (IJM) in the Philippines in 2018 and 2019.

Now back in the UK, Christina ran a 26-mile circuit on Sunday (October 11) starting in Regent’s Park and finishing at home in Wembley Park, raising £6,000 of a £10,000 target.

Christina said: “My heart sank on Sunday morning when I woke up and it was pouring with rain. The wet and blustery conditions made it a really difficult run but I dug deep and persevered until the very end, buoyed by good music, lots of energy gels and by a cause that is very close to my heart.”

The marathon was virtual amid the coronavirus lockdown, which meant Christina completed her own route in just over five hours, determined to finish before Anti-Slavery Day on October 18.

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Thankfully, her brother managed to join her for the final 8km, which brought back memories of the duo crossing the finish line together at the London Marathon in 2015.

“It felt really surreal to cross a virtual finish line, particularly as compared with the roar that would usually greet runners as they enter the iconic finishing stretch of the London Marathon on The Mall,” she added.

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“I was really pleased with my finish time of just over five hours, given the conditions. My brother and I enjoyed a celebratory smoothie and soaked in a moment I will never forget.”

Christina made the decision to move temporarily to the Philippines in January 2018 to work for IJM.

Over the course of 15 months she worked with IJM to tackle the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC), where customers, including people in the UK, pay to watch the livestreamed abuse of children over the internet.

Eighty-nine children - the youngest just six months old - were rescued from OSEC during Christina’s time abroad, and 21 convictions were secured against the perpetrators of these crimes.

Law enforcement agencies believe OSEC is likely to have increased during the pandemic, as both children and perpetrators spend more time at home, said IJM.

To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/christinalondonmarathonijm

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