Historically and recently, Northwestern College has been dedicated towards fighting justice locally and globally. Recent partnerships with the International Justice Mission (IJM) and A21 have allowed students on campus to learn more about the worldwide issue of human, workplace and sex trafficking.
According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 50 million people worldwide were living in situations of modern-day slavery in 2021. This number encompasses sex, labor and other forms of human trafficking. Moreover, 10 million of these individuals are children, often forced to work as slaves on farms, in factories or face extreme, continuous abuse in sexual exploitation.
NW’s Justice & Service team seeks to bring awareness to this topic on campus and within the Orange City community. Additionally, they provide opportunities for students to get involved in advocacy and fundraising efforts.
On Sept. 23, a partnership between NW Campus Ministry and a worldwide organization, A21, hosted a Walk for Freedom. Attendees from both Dordt University and NW gathered in Christ Chapel for prayer, more information on local and global trafficking and to hear from Shari Kastein, an Iowa native who spoke about her own personal experience of trafficking. Attendees walked from Christ Chapel to Windmill Park in solidarity by dressing in all black and walking in a single file line. Posters with statements and statistics of trafficking were held by individuals to raise awareness that human trafficking is happening here in Iowa.
In recent years, NW’s own IJM campus chapter has sought to raise awareness of human trafficking on campus through prayer, advocacy and fundraising. President of the IJM chapter, Erin Brouwer, seeks to bring this humanitarian issue to light on campus through the chapter.
IJM is an organization based in the United States that partners and comes alongside local law enforcement to work towards justice in countries worldwide. IJM recognizes that most people who are suffering from violence are also suffering from being in poverty-stricken conditions. The organization’s mission is to protect those living in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.
The campus Justice & Service team launched a fundraiser to fund a rescue operation in mid-September, shortly after Katie Russel, the director of mobilization for IJM, spoke in chapel. Currently, the campus community has raised $3,370 of the $8,800 goal. Meeting this tangible goal would allow one or more individuals to be rescued from modern-day slavery, causing a lasting impact on someone’s life.
Other opportunities to get involved include a Bible study that will begin on Oct. 25 and will be focused on learning about individuals affected by poverty and how the Lord calls us to interact with the most vulnerable.
There will be additional events held throughout the year through the campus chapter seeking to educate, advocate, pray and raise funds for those most vulnerable to trafficking.