At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.
The International Justice Mission is a faith-based international non-profit that works with governments, police forces and social workers to protect people from this slavery, rescue those affected and aid them in rehabilitation.
Ole Miss students had formed a campus chapter to shed light on sex crimes not only around the world but also right here in Oxford.
In April, a couple was arrested for kidnapping and transporting a woman from Georgia to Oxford. The FBI is currently investigating the incident.
“Human trafficking is an issue in the U.S. just as much as it is internationally and needs to be discussed more in our communities,” Caroline Bass, junior and treasurer of the Ole Miss IJM chapter, said.
While the chapter has been on campus for a couple of years, Bass said it is trying to build a stronger on-campus presence this year.
“While the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking have become more well-known in the past few years, awareness is still a huge deal,” she said. “The more conversations we have about these issues, the closer we will get as a society to bringing an end to these awful things.”
In order to spread the word about its mission, the Ole Miss chapter is participating in the IJM “Fast for Freedom” event Nov. 9 and 10.
Members of campus chapters across the nation will be fasting for 24 hours with the goal of raising $1 per hour to give back the cause. The event will begin with a worship night, followed by the 24-hour fast.
“We are hoping to raise money for the efforts of IJM but also to bring people’s attention to these issues,” Bass said.
Bass said the event will help start conversations in the campus and local community about these issues.
Mollie Bradford, junior and secretary of the chapter, said she joined the organization because she hopes to work with organizations made to help people who are suffering from injustice and cannot help themselves in the future.
“IJM is an incredible organization, and the victims they save are overlooked and abused by their traffickers and other people around them,” Bradford said. “IJM removes the victims from the situation and rehabilitates them so that they know they are worthy and important.”