"Human trafficking is modern-day slavery."
This harrowing phrase begins the description of the kNOw Trafficking Campaign Launch on Facebook. One Voice, which is sponsoring the campaign, is a student group coalition that aims to raise awareness about human trafficking, claiming that it will be the largest criminal industry in the world within three years.
Our primary focus is to let people know slavery was not gone with Lincoln, not even in the United States," said Weinberg sophomore and One Voice Education Chairperson Jennifer Yoo . "As students we can't do much, but we all have a lot of potential, and one day if students step into opportunities regarding human trafficking, they will have been enlightened enough to actually do something."
One Voice is a collaboration of 14 student groups that tackle human rights issues and hope to effect change by raising both awareness and funds for their causes. Last year, under the name Voice for Asia, members of One Voice focused on Asian orphans and took the message out of Evanston by hosting an awareness event in Millennium Park .
This year, co-chairwomen and Weinberg sophomores Francesca Chia and Christine Wang selected the group's issue. "I'm from Malaysia, where there are so many cases (of human trafficking) that are rarely spoken about," Chia said. "Everyone in the country knows it's happening and nothing is taking place to address it."
Tonight marks the first of several awareness-raising events culminating in a benefit concert in May, also to be hosted by One Voice. Social Policy Analyst Daria Mueller and Weinberg senior Ryan Pederson , who participated in the Global Engagement Summit, will speak to students in McCormick Auditorium .
All donations collected by One Life will be distributed between its two beneficiaries, Project Polaris and the Prevent Human Trafficking Institute, both of which are based in Washington, D.C., and focus on counteracting human trafficking. "We plan to have a lot of events throughout the year," Wang said. "We're raising money and picking beneficiaries that go into countries to educate young girls because human trafficking is a result of coercion."
Though the group hopes to make a difference through monetary contributions, awareness remains the main focus. "One Voice strives hard to ensure that this campaign unites the campus. We see it as an opportunity for everyone to take a stand together," Chia said. "We plan to execute a campaign that is as inclusive and appealing to the general mass as (much as) possible and make sure that our outreach is as big as possible."
Many students visiting One Voice's booth in Norris University Center supported the cause by signing a petition to raise prevention efforts.
"I think it's a good idea to get information on human trafficking out there," said second-year Kellogg student Faisal Khalid. "I'd heard of human trafficking, but I didn't know it was a $10 billion industry, I didn't have an idea of the quantum of it. Hard facts and information make an impact."
Adapted from: Kayleigh Roberts, "'One Voice' raises awareness of human trafficking." The Daily Northwestern. 11 January 2008.
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