Students stand in quad for 27 hours to fight sex trafficking

Despite the stinging rain and cold, students stood in the quad for 27 hours Thursday and Friday to raise money and awareness about slave trafficking.

The faith-based human rights agency International Justice Mission held its first ever STAND 4 Freedom campaign on six college campuses across the country — including UNC.

IJM is a Christian organization that aims to bring justice and awareness to modern slave trafficking and violent oppression.

In honor of the 27 million people who are enslaved worldwide, the UNC chapter of IJM wanted 270 students to stand outside Wilson Library in different shifts for 27 hours in hopes of raising $2,700.

Rebecca Todd, a STAND 4 Freedom organizer and member of IJM, said slave trafficking is a problem that still occurs in the modern world.

“A lot of people think that since we’re in the U.S. and in the 21st century, slave trafficking isn’t an issue,” Todd said. “But, in fact, it is still very prevalent. It’s just something that people aren’t aware of because so much of it happens under the table.”

“Standing against slave trafficking has become sort of a trendy social movement — it’s a thing for people to be involved in anti-human trafficking and social justice.”

Junior Hollis Dameron, a participant in STAND 4 Freedom, led a Zumba class during the first hour of the event.

“For me, it seems like I could do a lot more because an hour of my time is so insignificant to what these people go through,” Dameron said. “Giving up an hour of my time is just something small that I can do to help.”

Despite high hopes for the event, the UNC chapter fell short of meeting its goals.

Katharine Batchelor, the president of UNC’s chapter of IJM, said approximately 120 to 130 students showed up to support their efforts in the quad.

She added that almost $1,300 in donations was collected during the campaign, but said donations can still be made online.

During the 27-hour campaign, students listened to music, played games, wrapped up in blankets and drank hot chocolate.

Batchelor said in the final hour they had a celebration that consisted of performances by a cappella groups Psalm 100 and the UNC Walk-Ons and speeches by people who work at the IJM national headquarters.

“And they were there for the majority of Friday, so it was cool to see people who are interested in IJM stop and speak to people from headquarters,” Batchelor said.

She said since the event a number of students have shared their interest in the UNC chapter of IJM. She went on to say this was a great first trial event for the organization.

“We’ve learned a lot about the way we should publicize the event, what we expect to do and how we can better organize the actual event so that we can maximize funds,” Batchelor said.

“I think that we are really expecting — when we do this next year — to take in everything we learned. We are excited to do that because we really believe that we can meet our goals.”

Contact the desk editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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