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Memorial Union hosts human trafficking awareness

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According to Force 4 Compassion, a non-profit organization dedicated to the awareness of human trafficking, over three thousand people are kidnapped and sold into sex slavery each day. Most of these defenseless individuals are children.

Awareness and action are essential for the lives that are being traded for less than $100.

Washburn Union Underground hosts a coffee talk to discuss human trafficking and prevention Jan. 29, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Instructing others on how to go about addressing this problem in the community, the coffee talk will feature shocking statistics, resources for help, and how to stand against this injustice.

Becky Bolte, Director of the Memorial Union, hosts this causal event to present information and have an open dialogue about the lives that are affected. Bolte recalls her first experience learning about sex trafficking in college.

“People need to pay attention,” said Bolte. “We need to have those controversial discussions. We need to let students know what’s really happening outside of their bubble. These things are happening, and we need to be prepared.”

Many think that trafficking doesn't take place in their town, but it is everywhere. To spread awareness in a factual manner is a goal of those involved in the cause. There is information available for people if they suspect something. It is crucial to report anything suspicious to the authorities.

At the coffee talk, students will also be able to watch videos by activist and professor at Washburn University, Sharron Sullivan. She speaks in TEDxTopeka talks called “Consuming Children.” For her entire adult life, Sullivan has been researching and fighting violence toward women and children. Using her influence as an educator is her strength and privilege.

“The goal of the trafficker is always to own that person's mind, body, and soul,” said Sullivan. “We know that people are incredibly resilient, especially children. I wanted to use that venue to raise awareness.”

Selling human beings dehumanizes the individual. It is happening here. This dehumanizing behavior is happening worldwide.

“When we commodify human beings,” said Sullivan. “Which we have done many, many times in our past, it comes from a place of inequality. That’s not the world I want to live in."

Edited by Jason Morrison, Adam White, Hannah Alleyne

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