Staff and friends of Country Inn and Suites, Lehighton, put on their sneakers on Saturday to raise funds to prevent sex trafficking of children.

Approximately 25 people participated in the 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday. The event was held at the Lehigh Canal Park at Weissport.

There were two heats, one at 10 a.m. and a second at 3 p.m., to provide ample time for various employee shifts at the hotel.

Roseann Lesher, owner, said that the local hotel selected World Childhood Foundation as the recipient of the funds raised to tie in with chains' national goal of walking 25,000 miles throughout the weekend.

Lesher said there are 600 Radissons and Country Inn and Suite hotels taking part in the walk challenge.

Every hotel could select a charity to fund with walk receipts. The totals of the miles walked/run will be forward to the national chain to be reported later this fall.

Lesher chose World Childhood Foundation when she learned that between 18,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked in the United States each year with New York as the main port of entry of which 70 percent are female, 50 percent are female and 43 percent are trafficked for sex.

With a child going missing every 40 seconds in the United States, that means that over 2,100 children are missing every day. About 1,500 children die every year from child abuse and neglect. That is more than four every day. Eighty percent of them are younger than 4 years old.

Every day the United States Child Protective Services receives more than 50,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect every week, basically one child every 10 seconds.

World Childhood Foundation Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the most vulnerable children worldwide.

Lesher said she felt that the WCF was a good cause to support and her employees agreed to help.