This past week Northwestern faculty were given many opportunities to learn about the harsh and sad reality of human trafficking.
Though it may sometimes feel like evil has no triumph in Orange City, the evasiveness of human trafficking has still unwelcomingly entered the city limits.
Human trafficking was discussed by Becky Rasmussen, executive director of Call to Freedom, Alyssa Currier Wheeler, associate legal counsel at the Human Trafficking Institute and Gina Dvoras, a human tracking survivor and director of Treasured Lives, in Chapel, an evening Q&A with Mark DeYoung and Wednesday evening a NED talk.
The topic of human trafficking is extremely convoluted, but each person was able to speak light, truth and even experiences into the issue in a way that students could grasp.
“At its core, human trafficking is coercing someone to exploit them in exchange of value,” Wheeler said.
This definition was posed as it emphasized the fact that there are various kinds of trafficking. However, the two most frequent being sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
The speakers encouraged listeners the fight against human trafficking in many different forms. A few suggestions included to financially support an organization whose mission is to fight trafficking and to stay informed and educated about different events in our community and campus. However, they suggested that above all else we actively oppose this crime through prayer.
One way that students have taken the initiative to take a stand is through the campus’ new chapter of International Justice Mission. IJM is an organization that fights human trafficking by working alongside different country’s justice systems.
Northwestern, through the Justice and Service team in Campus Ministries, has established the college’s first ever student-led chapter.
The chapter, meeting bi-weekly, is open for anyone to join and its purpose is to bring the mission of IJM to a local level here at school and in the community.
Through the campus chapter, the hope is to promote the fight against trafficking by hosting various events and opportunities for students to get involved. An information meeting about IJM was held on Oct. 12, when students were informed about the reason for the chapter as well as the hope for the future.
This past week, the chapter hosted their first event, the 24-hour Freedom Fast. This event encouraged students to give up something in return for consistent prayer for those enslaved.
Jessica Jimenez, a senior exercise science major, is the lead of this year’s chapter.
“We are encouraged at the numbers we have already seen participate in the freedom fast and those who are wanting to be a part of our team,” she said, adding that she was excited to see how the campus and community could come together to get involved in the fight against human trafficking.
In the future, the chapter will be involved in advocacy and bringing awareness by calling legislatures and promoting something similar to Dressember, an event that encourages individuals to do something every day of December to raises awareness around human trafficking.
Human trafficking is not an easy topic to discuss. Though it is difficult, the guest speakers encouraged students to not merely dismiss it. In addition to acknowledgement, they expanded that it is just as important to find ways in our own day-to-day lives to be a part of the active opposition to it. There are 40 million individuals who are enslaved today.
Though NW dedicated a week to learning more about this injustice, it is important to continue to strive to seek justice in any way that we can beyond these few days.