Students raise money, awareness to end slavery

Students raise money, awareness to end slavery

University of Alabama students are working toward the eradication of modern day slavery through the End It Movement, a movement sparked at a conference at the beginning of January.

“Many people today don’t realize that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history – approximately 27 million slaves,” said Jeff Norris, campus director of Bama Cru, part of an organization formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. “Many are in bondage in the sex trade industry, many others are in factories and sweat shops around the globe.”

Norris said Bama Cru took more than 100 students to the Passion 2013 conference Jan. 1-4 in Atlanta, Ga. At the conference, Norris said students learned about the End It Movement, which Passion started.

“The End It Movement is a movement started by Passion with a simple goal to raise awareness and money to help end modern-day slavery,” Norris said. “The End It Movement is partnered with seven major organizations that exist to end slavery in the world. All the money raised by the End It Movement will go directly to these organizations who have people on the ground throughout the world working to end slavery.”

Josh Sigler, president of International Justice Mission at the University, also attended Passion 2013 and said the End It Movement shares similar themes with the IJM’s mission about ending human slavery.

“At Passion we got to hear from a number of leaders of different anti-trafficking organizations including IJM, A21, Free the Slaves and Polaris Project,” Sigler said. “The End It Movement seeks to make people aware of not only the existence of slavery, but also these different organizations who are doing something to end it.”

Kirkland Back, a junior majoring in English, attended the Passion 2013 and said there are many easy ways to get involved with the End It Movement on campus.

“I’ve already begun to get involved with the movement in small ways – they make it really easy,” Back said. “You can donate to the program online, change your profile picture, buy a T-shirt and change your prayer life. It’s become a real burden on my heart, so I hope that I can do something.”

On campus, Sigler said IJM plans to host a variety of events around the mission of the End It Movement for students who did and did not attend Passion 2013 to get involved in.

“We have a number of events planned for this semester that will allow large numbers of students a chance to get on board,” Sigler said. “We are once again doing Stand for Freedom in early March. We did this in November, and the idea is for at least 270 students to be visible and vocal on campus for 27 straight hours in order to raise at least $2,700 for the 27 million slaves.”

Although the End It Movement comes less than a year after the Kony 2012 campaign started by Invisible Children, Sigler said he believes the End It Movement is more sustainable.

“The End It Movement is different from Kony 2012 for a number of reasons,” Sigler said. “One reason is that Kony 2012’s main goal was to raise awareness. While the End It Movement sees awareness as incredibly important, we also know that once people are made aware, they are looking for a practical next step of involvement. The End It Movement offers that. Another way that End It is different is because it is partnered with multiple organizations that each offer a way to get involved in whatever capacity you can.”

Back echoed this sentiment, saying the reality of modern human slavery was emphasized through the Passion 2013 conference.

“I think the difference is that we all saw these people that had been enslaved,” Back said. “It wasn’t like Kony, who is, even still, this enigmatic axis force somewhere across the ocean. These girls and boys and men and women were right there in front of us. It’s hard to walk away from that unchanged and able to stand still.”

story created on Monday 1/14/2013 at 7:41:02 pm by Melissa Brown story modified on Monday 1/14/2013 at 9:01:51 pm by Ashley Chaffin

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