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IJM to “Stand for Freedom” next week

By Kaitlin McCabe '16

March 7, 2013

Hamilton College’s chapter of International Justice Mission is determined to turn its concern for the growing problem of modern day slavery into action.

Between 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12 and 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, students will gather in the Sadove Student Center Sunporch to participate in Stand for Freedom, a student-led movement to raise awareness and donations by holding a 27-hour vigil in recognition of the 27 million slaves in the world today.

International Justice Mission is a U.S.-based, non-profit human rights organization that operates in countries all over the world to rescue victims of individual human rights abuse.

The organization works to combat human trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, forced labor slavery, illegal detention, police brutality and illegal land seizure. Yet, another significant component of the group’s mission is to raise awareness of such controversies in the modern world.

Though such issues are not broadcasted daily through media networks, they are unfortunately quite prevalent. International Justice Mission and the United Nations report that there are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today, and the total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of a horrifying $32 billion.

These devastating statistics filled Carrie Cabush ’15 with anger and compassion, powerful emotions that inspired her to form an International Justice Mission chapter at Hamilton last semester.  Since its formation, IJM Hamilton has co-hosted an Awareness Week with LiNK to support victims of injustice in North Korea.

More recently, the organization celebrated Valentine’s Day by making 158 Valentines for women in the Nashville, TN’s Magdalene Shelter, which helps women to escape and recuperate from the hard life of prostitution.

Though the campus organization is still relatively new, Cabush is optimistic for its future successes.

“We are here to turn concern into action and to shake the idea that just because a contribution is small it is less valued,” she said. “All movements start somewhere and we hope to be that trigger on this campus, idealistic as it might sound.”

Next week, Hamilton will be one of 531 college campuses recognizing the 27 million slaves in the world today. By participating in the movement, these colleges are encouraged to raise and donate at least $2,700—all of which will support the work of International Justice Mission.

In addition to raising money, Cabush and the other members of IJM Hamilton hope to increase student awareness of the widespread, rampant conflict.

To pique interest, the organization will hold a bake sale and a screening of the documentary Call + Response, which prominently features Dr. Cornel West, who is visiting campus this Friday, March 8.

In addition, there will be food courtesy of Minar and entertainment by campus performers, including the Hamiltones, HEAT, Duelly Noted and Emma Wilkinson ’16. Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship will also be holding a morning prayer.

Hamilton’s Stand for Freedom event will also provide students with a unique opportunity to have first-hand involvement in the mission to overcome modern-day slavery.

IJM Hamilton plans to provide a petition asking President Barack Obama to act upon his statement that slavery is “barbaric [and] evil, and…has no place in a civilized world.”

IJM Hamilton emphasizes that this event is not limited to members of its chapter and that all individuals in the Hamilton community are welcome and encouraged to participate. Like Cabush said, all movements must start somewhere.

While Hamilton’s support may be minor in the fight to end slavery, it certainly is not insignificant. The key to the solution is unity—and spreading knowledge about and compassion for such a conflict on the Hill is undoubtedly a great start.

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