The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking as “the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.” Union, for the first time, is dedicating a week to increasing awareness about this global practice.
Human Trafficking Awareness Week began as a dance project by eight women in response to the attack of an Indian female student who died after being raped repeatedly on a bus in New Delhi. This attack provoked outrage worldwide and sparked the One Billion Rising movement, which the college participated in. This movement aims to end violence and promote gender equality.
Those involved in the dance project felt inspired by this project but wanted to do something bigger. Along with other groups who wanted to support this awareness week, the dancers took their project and created a powerful and thought-provoking week of recognition for the victims of human trafficking.
Some of the students who made this week possible discussed their motivation for participating in this project. Jasmine Roth ‘14 stated, “I care about this issue because this is an extreme case in which we need to act for our brothers and sisters around the world. As decent human beings, we should all care.”
Keilah Creedon ‘14 said, “I stand for this week.”
The week dedicated to alerting the Union community to human trafficking is divided into three parts: three aspects of human trafficking awareness.
The first addresses why this crime occurs, and began the week off with a dance performance in Emerson Auditorium on Monday and Wednesday .
The second part of this week explores the trauma of human trafficking with a lunch discussion in Messa House during common lunch, regarding the economics and social factors of this practice. The end of the week looks at the legal aspects of trafficking and if justice is ever really served.
The concluding event will be the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” walk at Samaritan Hospital in Troy on Saturday, April 27 (transportation provided for Union students).
Other awareness events are taking place throughout campus for the entire week, offering the community an opportunity to learn the facts of human trafficking.
Another student participant said, “This whole week of events is so important in order to raise awareness about this issue and inspire others to recognize that it happens and to take action.”
Many people around the word have become victims of human trafficking, a practice which generates nearly 45 billion dollars annually and this week will bring about campus wide consciousness.