In April, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV) partnered with an international organization called Love146 (https://love146.org/) to raise awareness on campus about human trafficking.
Love146 is a nonprofit that works in America and throughout the world to educate about and prevent human trafficking and to rehabilitate human trafficking victims. For a week, IV had a table set up on the South Oval and in the Union. We tied red strings on people’s wrists to help them remember throughout the day to think about (and pray for, if they wanted to) victims of human trafficking and the traffickers themselves. We also provided more information about human trafficking and Love146 if people wanted, and gave them an opportunity to donate to Love146.
On Thursday, April 14, we had an event called the “Night to Loosen Chains”. A speaker from Love146 came and taught us about the realities of human trafficking (as opposed to the dramatized version most of us are more familiar with) and about what Love146 does to prevent and deal with it. I learned a lot about human trafficking that I didn’t know before – for example, that human trafficking is about evenly split between genders, and also that human trafficking is evenly split between people trafficked for sex and people trafficked for labor. As for what we as students can realistically do to help fight human trafficking, the speaker said that the best thing we can do is to mentor a younger child. Providing them with a loving friend makes them less vulnerable to traffickers, and also gives them someone to notice if they are suffering from abuse or other potential signs of trafficking.
Two student artists from OU also presented some of their work in response to human trafficking. One of them, Gina Butler, created a comic about her personal spiritual journey and her understanding of the horrors of human trafficking. She also created t-shirts and prints that she sold at the event. Both the information tables and the presentation were surprisingly well-attended. There’s a girl in one of my classes who still has her red bracelet on, even a month later. Although the event has ended, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I am hoping to mentor a child this summer, and I am interested to figure out how else I can get involved in fighting human trafficking over the next year.