Student-led club takes action to pass bill through Senate

For 26 years, International Justice Mission has strived to bring hope and justice to millions of people who live unprotected from modern slavery, exploitation and abuse.  

In 2011, Liberty University joined hands with IJM and created its chapter. Nearly 13 years later, under the faithful leadership of club president Hazel Van Dyk and her leadership team, the Liberty IJM chapter will get to take action by supporting the passing of a new bill from Congress.  

IJM will host an advocacy day to help pass the EARN IT Act through Congress. It stands for eliminating abusive and rampant acts of international technologies. The EARN IT Act is a Congress bill that incentivizes tech companies to report any online sexually exploitative materials on their platforms.  

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, traffickers often use social media to exploit victims and connect with buyers. 

Students can help IJM by praying that the bill will gain the support of Virginia senators and by calling their offices.  

“It’s such a need,” Van Dyk said. “As people who have been given so much to live in America or Canada where we have very established and strong justice systems, we kind of have a burden to help those who don’t.”  

Liberty’s chapter of IJM supports the nonprofit organization through advocacy, fundraisers and prayer. Van Dyk says the club hopes to raise $9,100 by the end of this semester.  

“Ultimately, it comes back to my relationship with God and his call to protect the poor and the widows and look out for each other,” Van Dyk said. “It’s such an evident need in our world, and I think the more people working towards protecting people in poverty from violence, the better.” 

Photo by Kelley Atkinson

To help the organization fulfill its goals, students from across the nation in various chapters of IJM gathered in Washington, D.C. for two days last semester to participate in Advocacy Summit.  

Advocacy Summit is an event that exists to train leaders on how to educate government officials on human trafficking and lobby those same officials to support bills that aim to prevent human trafficking. 

“(Advocacy Summit) was amazing,” Van Dyk said. “As a leader, it is important to know current issues going on, so it has equipped me to share about it to our leaders and the student body better.”  

Van Dyk and her vice president, Riley Hill, learned from the leaders of IJM and alums from the different chapters across the nation.  

“We not only represent Liberty when we go, but we represent the state of Virginia,” Van Dyk said. “The more people that can go and want to go, the better.” 

The IJM club will host several more events throughout the spring semester, including a screening of the movie “Sound of Freedom,” tote bag painting, basketball tournaments and “Threads,” an IJM club event where students donate gently used clothing for the club to resell to those in need.  

According to Van Dyk, IJM is always looking for new members. All majors are welcome. 

To stay informed about future IJM events and club meetings, follow @ijm_lu on Instagram or email 

Merritt is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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