Free music, food and Zumba — these are not t.hree things that remind anyone of human trafficking, but for one University organization, these are the components to raising money and awareness to set Indian sex slaves free.
International Justice Mission held a Zumba class on Myers Quad Wednesday evening and is planning to host another April 1.
Although participants can enjoy the class, food and door prizes at no charge, donations are strongly encouraged.
IJM also raises some funds through the T-shirts the group puts up for sell at its events.
“Our chapter raises money to support IJM and raise awareness about the injustices IJM fights,” said Kerri Graves, the organization’s president.
IJM is a faith-based organization that raises money and then sends investigators, lawyers and social workers to help people all over the world who are enslaved by sex trafficking, bonded labor, illegal land seizure and wrongful imprisonment.
Not only do these workers try to set captives free, but they also work with local governments in an attempt to help stop these crimes.
The University’s chapter of IJM hosts a number of events, including art showings, documentary viewings, clothing drives and rallies. They also hold meetings every other week to increase local understanding.
These events are designed to shock and inform attendants. IJM participants give startling statistics, such as that there are more enslaved people throughout the world today than there were during the entire Atlantic slave trade.
This one fact moved Elyssa Schroeder, IJM’s publicity coordinator, to become more involved.
Schroeder said working with IJM is a way to learn about the importance of “justice and the oppressed and literally freeing slaves across the world in things we do in our local community.”
Students wanting to get more involved can do so by participating in events such as next Thursday’s free Zumba class, attending the bi-monthly meetings in room 275 of the Miller Learning Center or by checking out IJM’s Web site at ugaijm.com.