More than 45 million people are currently enslaved worldwide, according to International Justice Mission.
The U.S. State Department estimates that the revenue generated from human trafficking exceeds $32 billion per year, “more than Nike, Starbucks, and Google combined,” according to a factsheet on human trafficking developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 11-14 years old (End Slavery TN).
It’s for those reasons and more that Trevecca’s J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice plans Social Justice Awareness Week each spring. This year’s event begins on March 27 and includes a series of events led by social justice advocates like Luis Quinonez and Michelle Conn of the International Justice Mission.
According to Jamie Casler, the director of the Center for Social Justice, it’s our responsibility as Christians to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly,” according to Micah 6:8. The Center for Social Justice was created to articulate these biblical foundations for justice, and to bring awareness to the students and faculty that they too have a part in social justice, no matter their major, job or background. He hopes next week’s events help to do that.
“Being aware of the issues, spreading awareness to others, and peacefully protesting will help,” Casler said. “It can be the big things like human trafficking and it can be the small things like how we treat the homeless person down the road.”
Casler said it is sometimes easy for U.S. citizens to think human trafficking and other social justice issues simply aren’t a problem here. But, in fact, up to 300,000 Americans under the age of 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year (arkofhopeforchildren.org).
Casler stressed that fighting these injustices isn’t just the work of social justice majors or nonprofits; everyone can make a difference. He hopes next week’s events help students, faculty, staff and other members of the Trevecca community to get involved.
The Social Justice Awareness Week events include:
- March 27: Community Conversation on child soldiers and slavery featuring Luis Quinonez, once a child soldier himself, and Trevecca alumna Rondy Smith, founder of Rest Stop Ministries.
- March 28: Chapel led by Luis Quinonez
- March 29: Special guest from End Slavery will lead a session in McClurkan 200 from 6-7 p.m. The Social Justice Club will provide pizza.
- March 30: Michelle Conn from the International Justice Mission, a leading nonprofit that seeks to address human trafficking, will speak in chapel. She is expected to discuss how the organization has helped to rescue victims from human trafficking and their journey toward healing and restoration.