Mississippi College Students Join Global Fight Against Human Trafficking
February 28, 2013
Human trafficking continues to spread to the point where there are an estimated 27 million slaves around the globe. After drug dealing, it is the world’s second largest criminal activity, reports show.
On March 5-6, Mississippi College students will join a global movement to Stand for Freedom and promote awareness about the human tragedy. The students plan to stand for 27 hours in the Quad to call attention to the issue.
A 15-year-old Christian human rights agency, the International Justice Mission, is among the leaders of the campaign to combat slavery in the 21st Century. Estimates show the total market value of human trafficking exceeds $32 billion.
MC senior Allison Cooper of Hattiesburg is busy signing up students to participate on the Clinton campus. She first heard of the event at an Atlanta conference, and it inspired her to turn her feelings into action.
“I felt that MC would be a perfect place to host Stand for Freedom, the International Justice Mission’s project to raise awareness for human trafficking and modern-day slavery,” Cooper said.
Earlier this year, the International Justice Mission worked with government officials to rescue 36 families from slavery and abusive conditions at a brick factory in India. More than 100 men, women and children, including a three-year-old girl, were set free from the brick kiln in January 2013.
But all too often, millions of slaves are never rescued.
The Mississippi College student-led awareness campaign begins at 7 p.m. March 5, and concludes at 10 p.m. March 6. During the event’s final hour, MC junior Caleb Jett of Brandon will be among the students playing music on the Quad.
The Stand for Freedom campaign is getting students involved in the cause.
“I really want to see change and revival in the hearts of this generation,” said MC senior Maggie Webster of Caledonia. “I think this event is a great way to start.”
MC sophomore Chelsea Feathers of Somerville, Tennessee says she’s hoping the event helps shed light on the issue of slavery that’s hit the shores of the United States, from New Orleans to New York City and Los Angeles. “You always hear about it overseas, but it is shocking to hear it’s in your own backyard.”
Last year, the 2012 Miss Mississippi College, Taylor Townsend, made human trafficking her platform. The MC sophomore from Flowood launched a website promoting the United Nation’s Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking. The United Nations estimates that women and girls account for 80 percent of trafficking victims. In 2011, Taylor was one of six women who led a national conference on human trafficking awareness at Disney World attracting more than 3,000 teenagers.
“It’s my goal to make the Blue Heart campaign against human trafficking as pronounced and recognizable to Mississippians as the pink ribbon is for breast cancer,” Townsend said.