From 9 p.m. March 10 to 12 a.m. March 12, over 100
students at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, along with many across
the nation, stood for 27 hours to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Running with the slogan, “you may choose to look the
other way, but you can never say again that you did not know,” the event was
headed by the International Justice Mission, a non-profit human rights
organization with the goal of eliminating modern-day slavery.
“I think that everybody on campus and in the community
should know about it, and just this simple act of standing for 27 hours can do
that,” said Ashley Majewski, the president of the mission on campus.
On March 11, students stood outside the Health
Enhancement Center all day, holding signs saying “I Stand 4 Freedom.” Even at 3
a.m., six students stood in the snow outside the Newman Catholic Center.
Majewski has an optimistic outlook on the students’
ability to raise awareness.
“I think that it is an easy way for students to fight
the issue because it is so big. Some students just get so overwhelmed by that,
and they’re like, ‘How can I stop this issue?’ And this is just one small way
that the students can take a stand which I think is just empowering for them,”
The issue of human trafficking has sparked a wealth of
events on campus, such as last semester’s Justice Week. The event included a
film and a speech by a survivor of human trafficking.
Juan-Diego Hernandez, vice president of the
International Justice Mission, stood for the entire 27 hours because he is very
passionate about ending human trafficking.
“There are a lot of problems out there, but the reason
that we chose human trafficking is because this issue has been placed on each
and every one of our hearts,” Hernandez said. “Slavery is something that was
supposed to have been eradicated long ago, but now it is one of the largest
industries in the world. We fight this because there are many other problems
that stem from this issue as well. Some people fight against starvation and
other against poverty. We fight to end human trafficking.”
While the issue is large, there is hope in the students
who stand. Hernandez quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “When one person stands up,
they are often unnoticed. But when thousands rise up together, they cannot be