Students at College of Coastal Georgia joined thousands of others around the country Thursday in a campaign aimed at ending sex trafficking.
Several college clubs partnered this week to host events designed to educate students about the global sex trafficking industry.
The Converge club, an on-campus ministry at CCGA sponsored by the Gathering Place, led the effort, which was sponsored nationally by the End It Movement.
The End It Movement is a coalition of organizations working to end modern slavery. The nonprofit promoted nationally a day-long awareness event Thursday to “Shine a Light on Slavery.” Participants drew a red “X” on their hands and took photos to post on social media with the tag #ENDITMOVEMENT.
“Our job today is to give information to students,” said Hudson Hedgecoth, a senior at CCGA and a vice president of Converge. “What we do is we all put an ‘X’ on our hand and we post it on our social media, and that helps bring awareness. And then hopefully people will help donate to the cause.”
More than 40 million people are held in modern slavery today, according to the End It Movement’s website. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor, making up about about 71 percent of those who are trapped in what is estimated to be a $150 billion industry. One in four of the victims of modern slavery are children, according to the End It Movement.
This is the second year CCGA students have participated in the #ENDITMOVEMENT campaign. More partners were brought on board this year to expand the campaign.
“The school’s been really great this year about partnering with us,” said Victoria Fryer, a CCGA senior and secretary of Converge. “That’s how we’ve been able to do more events.”
Programs have taken place all week at CCGA to raise awareness. A representative from House of Hope, a residential treatment home for sex trafficking victims between the ages of 12 and 17, gave a presentation to students about the realities of what sex trafficking looks like. A self defense class attracted around 30 students.
Displays were set up around campus Thursday to highlight the campaign and provide students with opportunities to post photos on social media. A gathering Thursday night brought students together to further discuss the issue.
“We’re going to be really pushing for people to give, and we’re going to take collections for the End It Movement,” Hedgecoth said.
The college also helped the club purchase more than 300 t-shirts with the End It Movement’s red “X” logo. The shirts were given away to students.
The main goal of the campaign was to put the issue on the forefront of as many people’s minds as possible, Fryer said.
“At this age we’re college students and we’re getting into the world … and I think it’s important for us to know what we believe and know what’s going on so we can take a stand on different issues,” she said. “Because if we don’t start doing that now, when will we start?”