International Justice Mission making plans for the semester

Quiche Matchen

The International Justice Mission began spreading awareness on sex trafficking last month after being inspired by a conference they attended in Georgia. Since then, the group has been planning events throughout the semester and hopes to spread even more awareness on campus.

Independence sophomore Elyssa Carmony, who serves as IJM president, showed a video about sex trafficking that had the goals of IJM at a recent informational meeting.

She said the organization is all about how college students can get involved and stop sex trafficking and slavery, whether it’s here in the United States or in another country.

“Our three main objectives for International Justice Missionary chapter are to: raise awareness on our campus and in our community, raise our voice on behalf of victims, and raise funds to enable IJM,” she said.

Carmony said she wants people to know about the organization and what they stand for.

Their goal is to raise $500 by the tables they set up, the concert they’re planning and t-shirts they’re ordering. The money raised will go to paying lawyers that prosecute slave owners and homes for victims to stay in.

She said they plan on showing movies about sex trafficking and hope to have at least 50 people show up.

Another event they’re planning for the semester is a 24-hour stand at Centennial Mall for the 27 million slaves on March 27. There will be a table taking up “loose change to loosen chains.”

On April 27, Steve Mugler will perform at Crossland Community Church for a benefit concert along with a speaker from Thistle Farms non-profit healing center for female sex victims in Nashville.

Carmony said IJM also plans to write letters to victims rescued and to lawyers that are prosecuting.

“Letters of encouragement, saying that we’re behind you and that you can become beautiful and you are beautiful, and something great is going to come out of this in the end,” she said. “We want to make a quilt and all of us have a different patch, and we want to have it sent to a home in Cambodia or a home in Greece.”

Carmony said the quilt will show that WKU is behind them, although they’re thousands of miles away.

Louisville junior Madalyn Wilbanks, vice president of IJM, said she’s excited to be a part of this organization.

“We believe the first thing that we can do to end slavery is to spread awareness, especially as college students,” she said.

Wilbanks said the group has a partnership with Songs against Slavery, a non-profit organization that assists others in helping victims of sex trafficking.

Bowling Green junior Kimberly Cooper, IJM treasurer and board member, said she’s glad to be working with IJM and is happy Kentucky has the Trafficking Victim Protection Act.

Carmony said it was good to see so many people fired up about the organization.

She wants people to know that this isn’t just happening in other countries, but in our backyards.

“If it was your sister, mom, cousin, aunt or even your brother, I think we would be a little more quick to react to it, if our sister was taken into human sex trafficking,” she said. “I want every one of those victims to be treated as our own sister or brother, because we’re all a part of the human race and it’s not okay.”