Students rallied to raise awareness about human trafficking in a Wednesday night event near Tommy Trojan put on by World Vision ACTS, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness about social injustices.
Adam Joe, World Vision ACTS co-president and a sophomore majoring in film production, delivered a speech to kick off the rally, which featured activities and poster boards encouraging student engagement and discussion of injustices associated with human trafficking.
“We will not accept slavery,” Joe said. “Our generation is rising up as the next abolitionists of our time.”
Joe said human trafficking is a worldwide issue and exists in many forms, including child soldiers and sex slaves.
According to World Vision ACTS co-president Michelle Lau, a sophomore majoring in business administration, 27 million people are currently enslaved worldwide, making human trafficking the third-largest crime in the world.
Lau said that students have the power to affect social injustices, such as human trafficking. World Vision ACTS uses “creative activism” to address social issues on a global scale, according to Lau.
“As students at USC and in America, we enjoy a democratic system and a privileged country. We should voice our opinions about these issues because our society has the means to make a difference,” Lau said. “Creative activism allows the issue to become tangible for people and take action. They have to interact and feel engaged in the cause.”
Joy Elise, a sophomore majoring in graphic design and cognitive science, submitted her art addressing the issue of human trafficking to the organizers, who displayed it at the event. Organizers also put up informational display boards that encouraged attendees to guess how many slaves exist globally and compare the prices of everyday items in a dorm room to the monetary value associated with child slaves.
World Vision ACTS member Mo Alabi, a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism, said the organization emphasizes spreading awareness for various causes, such as AIDS, famine and malaria, in unique ways.
“We’re really focused on putting the message out there in a way that’s creative and sticks with people,” Alabi said. “Everything we do is student driven and designed by us. The dedication of the [leaders and members of the club] is amazing.”
Club members read aloud stories of children around the world who have been affected by human trafficking and encouraged students passing by to show their solidarity for the cause by painting their handprint onto a banner.
Lesley Chan, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, stopped to look at the posters at the event as she was walking down Trousdale Parkway. Chan said that the information she learned about human trafficking at the event inspired her to learn more about the issue.
“I just heard a story about a girl in California who was forced into prostitution. I was really surprised that, even in our own country, human trafficking is happening,” Chan said.