Students join international fight to end human trafficking

Michael Bragg

The International Justice Mission chapter at Appalachian State University held a One Step One Voice event Tuesday to encourage students to call their congressional representatives and ask them to sign the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act.

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

Members of the chapter held the event in the Watauga River Room of Plemmons Student Union and encouraged them to call from there, as well as handing out fliers around campus and encouraging students to call on their own.

This event was held in more than 500 other schools around the world.

Lindsay Poe is a member of Appalachian’s International Justice Mission chapter who helped organize the event. Poe said she believes if this bill were passed in the U.S., it would also set an example for other countries internationally to put an end to human trafficking.

Rachel Cheek is also a member of the International Justice Mission’s Leadership team, as well as their treasurer. Cheek said that Asheville and Greensboro are some of the biggest hubs in the world for human trafficking, despite popular belief that this is a mainly international issue spanning outside of the U.S.

“In my personal experience, I think the oppression of any human in this world is not OK,” Cheek said.

Jessie Wilson is the president of Appalachian’s International Justice Mission chapter.
More than 100 Appalachian students made calls to Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and Representative Virginia Foxx asking for their support for this bill, Wilson said.

Burr and Hagan officially signed on to co-sponsor this bill due to calls made Nov. 19. The chapter is still awaiting a response from Foxx.

“The purpose of passing this bill is to make ending modern day slavery and human trafficking a priority within our government,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that this is the third political action Appalachian’s International Justice Mission chapter has taken on campus in an effort to see an end to human trafficking.

“We often underestimate the voice we as students have, and this was an excellent opportunity to use that voice,” Wilson said. “We as college students have a voice, a voice our politicians should and do care about, a voice that can create real change within our world.”

Story: LANEY RUCKSTUHL, Intern News Reporter