Friday, October 31, 2014

Abolition Week Comes to a Close

Liberty University wrapped up Abolition Week presented by the Student Government Association with a special screening of the film “Sex + Money” in Towns Alumni Auditorium March 28 at 7 p.m. to help raise awareness among students about human trafficking.

According to the “Sex + Money” film website, the film is a documentary made to raise awareness and bring freedom to those enslaved in human trafficking. The film wants to address the problem that people are aware that sex trafficking happens abroad, but most do not believe that it exists on American soil.

The film was made by a group of journalists traveled the states conducting interviews with psychologists, victims, federal agents and politicians.

The School of Communications Associate Dean Scott Hayes gave opening remarks about the film to the audience. According to Hayes, the documentary focuses on the domestic aspect of trafficking in the United States.

According to Liberty student Kendra Kelch, the film was absolutely worth showing at Liberty due to its relevance among students. Kelch found the information presented in the film to be very moving.

“The subject of sex trafficking is definitely relevant to students because it is something that is happening all around us…” Kelch said. “I want to be able to inform more people that it is relevant in the U.S. not just in other countries.”

The film presented facts about the reality of human trafficking and mentioned the fact that there are girls as young as 12 being placed in trafficking and prostitution. It also addressed the stereotypes of human traffickers.

“I find the ages of the girls that are taken very shocking, because they are only looking for affection they couldn’t find in anyone else,” Kelch said. “The most shocking was the fact that the buyers of the girls are average men, or even women, who have a family and kids.”

According to the “Sex + Money” website, the problem not only lies with a need of raising awareness, but resources and organization as well. There are currently less than 100 beds available in restoration homes for the estimated 100,000 – 300,000 child sex trafficking victims in America. Also, there is a lack of central organization to help mobilize the masses and connect various anti-sex trafficking initiatives.

At the end of the screening, two Lightforce International representatives, Laura Perry and Will Sallee, held a question-and-answer session with students. Perry is the associate director of Lightforce International, and Sallee is the director of communications.

According to Perry, Lightforce International is an organization that works against human trafficking. The organization has outreaches and ministries to help victims recover from sexual slavery. They work with and offer resources to outreaches in Costa Rica.

Perry and Sallee shared how they became involved in Lightforce and what it is like working against human trafficking on a day-to-day basis. Sallee encouraged students to find their calling through God.

“Don’t focus on the ‘what,’ but rather focus on the ‘who,’” Sallee said. “As we are led by the Lord, it is often fun seeing where it takes us.”

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