The human trafficking awareness event series, “Not on My Block,” will be taking place at Hopkins in the upcoming weeks. The focus of the events will be to educate students on the realities of human trafficking. The series is being hosted by The Hopkins InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (HCF), Students Educating and Empowering for Diversity (SEED) and Amnesty International USA.
The first event, “Stand for Freedom,” began today and will end Friday evening. The team will hold a fort in place and stand on the Keyser Quad for 27 hours to represent the 27 million people who are currently victims of human trafficking around the world.
The student advocates from the Hopkins InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will be passing out pledge sheets and holding up cardboard signs advertising for “Human Trafficking Awareness Week” (April 8-13).
The HCF members will also have a petition for people to sign. They are hoping to send the petition to the “International Justice Mission” in Washington D.C. The campaign for human trafficking awareness began last year with just five students and has since grown to become a widely acknowledged student run campaign.
The name for this year’s series, “Not on My Block,” is an allusion to the social psychology term “NIMBY” or “not in my backyard.”
“Not on My Block” is supposed to refer to the idea people tend to lack empathy for problems like human trafficking if they do not see people who are directly impacted by it.
“We are trying to show the campus that people really can make a difference and that the main influences of human trafficking are structural poverty and other problems in the urban setting. There are not a lot of means for women to get out of the human trafficking systems,” sophomore Andrea Kim, a member of HCF, said.
Kim stressed the importance for policy actions to rectify these global atrocities. The events are a way to encourage people to take action now.
“The idea is that we are trying to reverse the lack of help for these victims and change the structure. This is something that must come from policy measures and support for the community. The ‘Stand for Freedom’ event is a way to bring momentum for the weeks to come and our other events this semester,” Kim said.
The first event for “Human Trafficking and Awareness Week” is on Monday, April 8, inviting students around campus to listen to a variety of panelists who are experts on the issue of human trafficking.
The event will continue on Tuesday, April 9 with a movie illustrating the prevalence of sex trafficking in the United States and will conclude with a discussion meant to engage students.
On Wednesday, April 10 there will be an event with students who will share their experiences when going on outreach missions in West Baltimore where they have had interaction with women who are victims of sex trafficking. They will also be discussing the impact that their faith has had throughout the process and how they connect spirituality to the cause.
To conclude the series, there will be a Coffee House fundraiser at Nolan’s on April 11. The student advocates will additionally be selling bracelets at Spring Fair. All contributions will be given to the Safe House of Hope, a Baltimore based organization that helps victims of human trafficking in the city.
“These woman are not choosing to be victims of human trafficking. There are so many cases where parents sell their children as young as 11 years old and convince them into becoming slaves. There are more slaves recorded now than ever in world history. Trafficking is huge in large urban settings,” Kim said.
Additionally, there will be a tent set up during Spring Fair where students will have the opportunity to walk through and learn more about the problems of human trafficking. There will be washable barcode tattoos distributed at the tent for participants as well. These tattoos are meant to display the lack of dignity that victims of human trafficking have when in the system.