The University’s chapter of the International Justice Mission will stand for 27 hours March 14 and 15 to raise awareness for the 27 million slaves in the world today.
Stand for Freedom will be held at the Ferguson Center Plaza. The group will also move to the Strip the night of March 14.
AIJM hopes to have petitions signed by 270 people by the end of their stand for the Safe Harbor Bill, treating any minor who is caught in sex trafficking as a victim instead of a criminal. The organization hopes to raise $2,700 to go straight to victims of slavery as well.
Josh Sigler, a senior majoring in German and communications and president of AIJM, said AIJM is participating in the Stand for Freedom primarily to raise awareness.
“Our philosophy at AIJM is that how can you do something about it if you don’t even know that it’s a problem? All you have to do is tell somebody, ‘Hey there’s 27 million slaves in the world,’ and they’ll immediately say, ‘That’s awful. What can I do about it?’” Sigler said. “People a lot of times come down on raising awareness like it’s somehow not effective, but if they don’t know, they can’t do anything about it.”
Sigler said he cites the numbers to make AIJM’s purpose more of a reality.
“Right now in the world, there are 27 million slaves – that’s more than any other time in human history. It’s a $32 billion criminal industry. It’s the third largest criminal industry in the world, and it’s the fastest growing, and people have no idea that it’s happening at all,” he said.
Hannah Glenn, a sophomore majoring in public relations and social media director of AIJM, said the organization is working hard to prepare for the Stand.
“I am working with other members of the publicity team to try to make sure that as many people as possible know about this event and make sure we have the signs and resources to make this event successful,” Glenn said. “For example, we’ve all worked on making signs for while we’re standing, and we are all also constantly working on trying to recruit more people to stand with us and trying to raise money.”
For those who miss their Stand, AIJM is going online for any who want to see what happened by making videos and taking pictures of their efforts with the help of Abbey Pint, a freshman majoring in telecommunication and film and a media specialist within the AIJM.
“I will be there for almost all of the 27 hours for Stand for Freedom. I am filming and documenting all the groups,” Pint said. “I don’t have a ton to prepare for other than making sure all my equipment is good-to-go and pray for an awesome turn out with the event.”
A lot can happen in 27 hours, and for some AIJM members, that means even missing class to stand for their cause. Though the group made room for chaotic college schedules with time slots through signing up, some are staying because they want to.
Pint is not missing class, citing respect for her teachers. Glenn said she believes she will end up missing classes due to her level of involvement with AIJM.
“It just makes sense though. What better could people do with their time than be a voice for those who are voiceless because they are enslaved? No one is for slavery, and if they are, I don’t want to know,” Glenn said.