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Opinion

Students encouraged to join fight against human trafficking

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October 5, 2012

The members of Students Fighting Human Trafficking are starting from the bottom up in more than one way this year, since former president Jubelynn Hanka graduated last year, along with several of the group’s members.

Diana Hendrickson, president of the organization, encourages all UW-River Falls students to join the organization. She hopes to increase membership and the group’s power with raising awareness.

Hendrickson referred to human trafficking as the “Holocaust of the 21st century” because it is a major issue worldwide that does not have much awareness.

The members of the group have a strong vision for what they want the organization to achieve.

Their goal is to help eliminate human trafficking by starting small. Hendrickson explained that, while the group is not going to single-handedly stop human trafficking, they want to start a conversation on campus about the issue.

The members specifically want people on campus to be aware that human trafficking is not only a problem in foreign countries, but is a major issue in the U.S., the Midwest and even River Falls.

According to Hendrickson, there have been several abductions at The Mall of America by people involved with human trafficking.

In some of these incidents, the abductors looked like businessmen who were conducting job interviews. They lured people into what looked like an office and then abducted them and made them into sex slaves.

“The abductors not only destroy the minds and bodies of the sex slaves, but kill a person from the inside out,” said Hendrickson.

Human trafficking is an organized crime, which is what makes it so dangerous. Over 27 million women are victimized by human trafficking each year. Women are not the only targets, since men and children are also victims, according to Hendrickson.

The group was started last year when Hanka attended a conference in the Twin Cities. “She came back transformed and we both decided that we needed to do something on campus,” said Hendrickson.

The group plans to gain visibility on campus by setting up vendor tables in the University Center at various times this year.

In order to educate students about human trafficking, they will hold a screening of “Nefarious” each semester, which is a documentary about human trafficking.

The group meets at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Fireplace Lounge at the University Center.

More information can also be found on the group’s Facebook page: “Fighting Human Trafficking” or by contacting Diana Hendrickson at diana.hendrickson@my.uwrf.edu.

Nicole Hovatter is a student at UW-River Falls.