Students Will Wear Armbands in Support of Ending Human Trafficking

Nov. 11, 2009

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Students seeking to raise awareness about modern-day slavery will distribute free purple armbands at the Baylor University-University of Texas at Austin football game on Nov. 14.

Nine students enrolled in Baylor's human trafficking course have spent hours making about 5,000 bands from purple fabric, said Dr. Kim Kotrla, assistant professor of social work.

"The color purple is associated with violence against women, although this isn't exclusively an issue of violence against women and girls," Kotrla said. "Victims can be boys and men."

This semester is only the second one in which the human trafficking course, an elective, has been offered, Kotrla said. Besides social work students, it has attracted seminary students and students in international and church-state studies, she said.

More than 27 million people worldwide are enslaved, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of State, Kotrla said. About 18,000 to 20,000 are brought into the United States yearly, but "within the borders, based on new research, it's believed that more American citizens are being trafficked within our borders than foreign nationals being brought in."

Youths -- especially runaways -- are most often the victims, Kotrla said.

"There are likely 300,000 American youths being exploited in prostitution, stripping, pornography and other ways," she said. "We used to see them as juvenile delinquents, but we're beginning to look at them differently, as children being victimized rather than bad kids."

A screening of the International Justice Mission's new documentary At the End of Slavery will be shown at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, in Room A108 of the Baylor Sciences Building, northwest of the intersection of Speight and Bagby avenues, and at 6 p.m. at Antioch Community Church, 510 N. 20th St. in Waco.

Both screenings are free and open to the public and will be followed by question-and-answer sessions.

Armbands may be obtained in advance at the student lounge in the School of Social Work, located in the Speight Plaza Building in the Speight Garage, Fourth Street at Speight Avenue on the Baylor campus.

At the game, armbands will be distributed at the School of Social Work's booth at the south end of Floyd Casey Stadium's parking area, 150 Bear Run in Waco.

For more information, contact: Kim Kotrla or Saleta Hopkins

Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

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