Belmont students against modern slave trade

This semester I was blessed with the opportunity to intern with a local anti-human trafficking organization called Not For Sale for credit towards my English major. My official position is the Advocacy and Awareness Intern and I felt like this hands on experience has led me to not only gain important job skills, but started a burning fire in my heart for human rights activism.
If you’re like most people, you may not know, but there are over 27 million slaves (that’s 27 times the population of Nashville) in the world today and 80% of them are women and 50% of them are children. About 12 million of those slaves are sex slaves, again, half of them are children. As a Christian and an American I feel that my freedom is one of the things I cherish most in life and upon becoming more aware this issue I knew I couldn’t sit in silence while others lost their own. Human trafficking, or slavery, is the second largest illegal crime in the world (after drugs, before weapons) and brings in $32 billion a year.
Most people, when they think about this kind of tragedy, think it only happens in the far corners of third world counties, but perhaps you’d be surprised to know that this is far from true. Slavery exists in every country on the planet, even these United States–and in every state. I was personally shocked to learn that slavery exists right here in Nashville as well.
Because we are the state chapter of the national Not For Sale Campaign, our focus is local slavery. The State Director, Derri Smith, and I met once a week and mapped out my work and goals for the semester. Because I am a Resident Assistant here I already had a lot resources at my fingertips and decided to focus my efforts on the Belmont campus.
Therefore, I hosted two convocation events on modern day slavery and was grateful to have over 250 Belmont students attend. For the first event we listened to a lecture about the realities of slavery and for the second event we watched Taken and discussed the differences between the Hollywood-ized portrayal and the realities of human trafficking (there aren’t many.) I passed out brochures I wrote and made and got lots of positive feedback from students wanting to help.
However, as I began talking about the issue, I was not only surprised by the amounts of responsive compassion I found, but by the number of students already involved in other organizations working together to fight this injustice. Once again, I was reminded why I love Belmont and its students: On some level, so many of us are dedicated to changing the world and find opportunity after opportunity to do so here.
Check out the anti-slavery movement in your area by checking out: www.notforsalecampaign.org
Or learn about our movement here in Nashville at www.notforsaletn.org
I am not for sale. You are not for sale. No one should be for sale.
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