Students stood for 27 hours Tuesday and Wednesday to raise awareness for human trafficking by holding signs, asking students to sign a petition and passing out trafficking fact sheets.
Volunteers held signs that read “I stand for freedom and “More slaves exist today than all of history” as part of TCU Stand for Freedom, an event to spread the word about the 27 million modern-day slaves worldwide.
Students stood outside the Mary Couts Burnett Library from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to the event’s Facebook page.
“The 27 million slaves in the world is more than there have ever been at any other point in history,” Courtney Cochran, an organizer of the event, said.
Stand for Freedom is a program introduced by the International Justice Mission, “a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression,” according to thewebsite.
The International Justice Mission seeks to make the public justice system work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law, according to the website.
Cochran said she, along with volunteers, passed out trafficking fact sheets to students, asked for donations to the International Justice Mission, and asked students to sign the Make Freedom Real petition.
Allison Messimer, a first-year business major who stood at the event, said an overall petition with signatures from all university chapters would be sent to President Barack Obama in the coming weeks in hopes that “the United States will become a leader in the fight to end slavery.”
The International Justice Mission set a goal for each university chapter to get 1,000 petition signatures, according to the website.
Rachel Causey, an organizer of the event, said TCU Stand for Freedom came short of that goal, but did receive 734 signatures on paper and several more online.
“I think a lot of the people we talked to have been shocked by [the fact that there are 27 million slaves],” Cochran, a first-year biology major, said. “They realize that they’ve seen [the movie] 'Taken' or that they know there are slaves, but they think about it being in India or China or other countries. They didn’t realize that 17,500 slaves are brought into the United States each year.”
Causey said she found out about the event at Passion, a non-profit designed “with a desire to see spiritual awakening come to the college campuses of the nation and the world,” according to its website.
After attending Passion, Causey said that she and Cochran found a mutual interest for Stand for Freedom and wanted to bring a chapter to the university.
Stand for Freedom has raised $96,698 globally and has a goal to raise $270,000, according to the website.
TCU Stand for Freedom has a personal goal to raise $2,700, and donations to the campaign can be submitted until March 26.
Causey said the event was a success because of the petition signatures and the conversations it sparked.
"The hope of Stand for Freedom is that it will serve as a stepping stone in a movement of students at TCU rising up for the 27 million children, women, and men in bondage. We can be the generation to end slavery, if we will only stand up," Causey said.