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Students promote awareness about human trafficking

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Some people fight for a cause because they have been personally affected, but Melissa Crutchfield simply had an open heart and an open mind.

Crutchfield, a TCU alumna and TCU Campus Crusade for Christ member, said she and a friend heard about the rising number of human trafficking occurrences on a podcast and wanted to take action.

“We both just had it laid on our hearts to do something about this issue,” Crutchfield said. “We brought it up with a couple of students and a couple of students were excited and rallied behind it.”

Members of TCU CRU and other interested individuals created Justice Week. The week long event promoted awareness and funds for a local group to fight slavery and human trafficking. The cause partnered with the International Justice Mission and local group Rescue Her, Crutchfield said.

Throughout the week Crutchfield said students were able to sign petitions, receive information about human trafficking, buy merchandise to support Rescue Her and attend a presentation by Rescue Her founder Josie Carignan.

Students at the events along with participants of Justice Week said they did not know human trafficking occurred in the DFW area.

According to the Rescue Her Web site, 20 percent of all human trafficking in the U.S. comes through Texas at some point. Additionally, the National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than from any other state in the U.S. In Texas, 15 percent of those calls were from the DFW area.

She knew human trafficking went on in other countries, but was not aware it happened in DFW, Lexie Charles, a sophomore early childhood education major, said.

“I don’t know if people still believe that it goes on,” Charles said. “It’s scary, sad, and disheartening. It’s really hard to talk about.”

He had to sign the petition to stop human trafficking after learning slavery and sexual slavery is on the rise, Brance Rivera, a senior movement science major, said.

“Why would I not sign a petition about it?” Rivera said.

Crutchfield said she hopes the knowledge gained from the week will inspire students to fight human trafficking especially through the local group Rescue Her.

“Ignorance and indifference is not an option and it’s not an excuse anymore,” Crutchfield said.

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