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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Group hopes to shed light on modern slavery

A little girl in Africa. A small family in India. A teenage girl in College Station.
These seemingly unconnected people could all be victims of the same crime — modern slavery.
Modern slavery is a global problem to which the International Justice Mission, IJM, wants to bring awareness. Along with other chapters across the United States, the Texas A&M IJM chapter is hosting its Stand For Freedom event in Rudder Plaza Wednesday as students stand for 24 hours in solidarity with slavery victims.
“Modern day slavery is completely different than historic slavery,” said Lauren Sanders, communication sophomore and chapter president-to-be. “It happens around the world, and it happens in so many more areas than just agriculture. They can be enslaved through prostitution. They can be enslaved by working in factories, for example, a common occurrence essentially in India is people can be trapped working in brick factories.”
Lindsey Landers, business management senior and chapter treasurer, said it is important to educate and raise awareness that slavery still exists.
Christian Lowe, international studies junior, said between 200,000 and 300,000 people are trafficked annually in the United States alone.
To respond to the problem, Congress is attempting to pass a human trafficking bill, S. 553, also called the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act. Unlike others in the past, Lowe said this one will make the United States a leader in the fight against slavery.
“It focuses on building upon the model that IJM uses to rescue people from oppression around the globe,” Sanders said. “It’s going to enable the U.S. to act as an agent of rescue and restoration. It provides funds and resources for the government to rescue people both in the U.S. and around the globe.”
In relation to the event, Landers said Stand For Freedom serves several goals — creating a petition asking Congress to pass the act and raising awareness of human trafficking along with funds for IJM.
“Stand For Freedom is our biggest event of the spring semester,” Landers said. “The theme of the event is, ‘One Day for their Every Day,’ so we’re going to be out there for 24 hours, and the reason why we’re asking people to join us is because we’re a group of college students who want to see change in their lifetime.”
Sanders said Stand For Freedom is a movement that IJM started for campus chapters across the nation, and it is symbolic for people who cannot stand up for themselves. When the campaign started, Sanders said the purpose was to show students a day in the life of a modern slave, which is where the 24 hours comes in.
“It’s symbolic of us standing in their shoes for a day,” Sanders said.
Along with standing, the event will include time for prayer, worship and an MSC Coffee House concert with free donuts and coffee. There is also a time to sign the petition to pass the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act and to collect donations. The goal of the fundraiser, Sanders said, is to collect $2,000.    
“You don’t have to stand for all 24 hours,” Sanders said. “At our chapter, there is at least one person standing up, because it is physically impossible to stand for 24 hours.”
The Stand For Freedom event will be from 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Rudder Plaza. Admission is free.

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