The International Justice Mission starts human trafficking awareness week


The International Justice Mission (IJM) is dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking. Yesterday marked the start of Justice Week, hosted by the IJM, which is geared toward informing students about human trafficking and the toll it takes on the lives of millions.

The Florida Department of Children and Families estimates that nearly 2,000 cases of human trafficking has been reported statewide over the past year, a 54 percent increase since last year. With over 45 million slaves worldwide, as reported by the Global Slavery Index of 2016, modern slavery remains a pertinent issue.

The IJM will open up a brothel exhibit Monday, showing the unjust living conditions both sex and labor slaves are forced to endure. The IJM will also host an open mike night Tuesday named Java for Justice and will serve fair-trade coffee and donuts throughout the night in the MSC amphitheater.

On Wednesday, IJM will have a petition against Nestle at Bull Market. Nestle has received criticism in the past for being one of the only large candy corporations that has failed to introduce fairtrade certified production standards.

Guest speaker Laura Hamilton, an advocate and social leader for victims of sex trafficking, will share her message Thursday.

Hamilton will speak on the work she has done with her nonprofit organization, Bridging Freedom, which provides safe housing and education for rescued victims of the child sex slave industry.

Finally, the IJM has planned an A21Walk for Freedom, a fundraising event where participants can make bandanas and hear about the stories of reallife victims of the slave industry.

President of the IJM chapter at USF, Dakota Engel is an organizer of IJM’s Justice Week.

A lot of college students (and adults) tend to forget about human trafficking,” Engel said. “Many don't realize slavery still exists, so we are working to combat ignorance. Big events such as Justice Week enable us to get the IJM name out there, but it also sparks a desire to make change. Whether we gain members or not, we want people to make a difference.”