Students stand against human trafficking

SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

They won’t stop standing, not even to sleep.

For 24 straight hours, the International Justice Mission (IJM) at USF will stand up in an attempt to raise awareness for victims of human trafficking as part of IJM’s Stand for Freedom event.

Stand for Freedom begins at 10 p.m. Thursday and runs through 10 p.m. Friday and takes place on the lawn outside of the library. The event is about bringing awareness to slavery and violence against those in poverty, with the slogan “one day for their everyday.”

“We’re basically standing on campus for 24 hours as a justice hub to let students know that this is an issue still,” IJM USF chapter president Abby Parrigan said. 

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a special agency of the United Nations, almost 21 million people, 11.4 million women and 9.5 million men, are used for forced labor. 

Those enslaved by private individuals and enterprises reaches almost 19 million, with 4.5 million in sex slavery. Human trafficking linked to forced labor is a $150 billion illegal industry in the United States, according to ILO. 

Florida ranks third in the nation in sex trafficking based on the number of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in 2011, according to the organization’s website.

“This is an issue that is something that all of our members are so passionate about because it involves 30 million people in the world today that are being enslaved,” Parrigan said. 

“This event is really our outlet to just make students more aware of the issue today and that there’s people around the world within in our country and within many other countries that are being forced to work for no pay or kids that are three and four years old working in fields with machetes trying to source the goods in our country.”

IJM is a global organization that works to rescue victims of all forms of exploitation and oppression, according to the organization’s website. 

The organization uses a team of lawyers, investigators, social workers, community activists and other individuals through a network of 17 offices in the field.

Local chapters, such as the USF faction, focus more on raising funds through events on campus, such as their previous Java for Justice event and the upcoming Stand for Freedom. Stand for Freedom takes place on college campuses across the nation during a week of dates put out by IJM. 

The USF chapter also focuses on raising awareness for the cause, collaborating with different organizations and growing the membership.

During Stand for Freedom, members of the USF chapter and other participants will remain standing for an entire 24 hours while putting on a number of activities, according to Parrigan. 

The group has planned game such as corn hole and Jenga, a scavenger hunt, a worship hour and other activities. Waffle House will be serving free waffles on Friday morning and there will be fair trade coffee served throughout the event.

As part of the fundraising effort, the chapter will be selling baked goods and bracelets. They will also raffle off a Chick-fil-A basket. There will be 10-minute sit down passes sold for a dollar or given out as prizes for games. The goal is to raise $150 for a trafficking rescue for victims. 

There will also be a petition concerning Mars chocolate and its use of trafficked cocoa beans in its products. The company switched to fair trade beans in the UK but has yet to do so in the United States.

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