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Students Raise Awareness about Human Trafficking, Slavery

We are People Not Property logo
3/16/2011 —

Penn State Brandywine Schreyer and Cooper Honors scholars are joining to fight human trafficking and slavery by raising awareness and funds on campus to help victims as part of the National Collegiate Honors Council’s National Honors Service Day.

“We Are … People Not Property” is the message behind their campaign, which will feature a collection drive from now until March 25. The students are asking for standard size toiletries.

Students will also sell strips of fabric for $2 to be worn as ribbons, hairpieces or on clothing and bags to show solidarity and support for the cause. The money raised will benefit an organization assisting the victims of human trafficking and slavery.

“I was so amazed to learn that trafficking and slavery happen here everyday,” said junior honors scholar Lauren Orner, the chair of the We Are … People Not Property project. “We all knew we had to do something to help, and hopefully through raising money and [collecting] supplies we can make a difference in the lives of these victims.”

On Tuesday, March 22, Erin Neff, assistant project manager of Courtney’s House, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that assists young male and female victims of domestic sex trafficking, will speak to the campus in room 203 of the Tomezsko Classroom Building. Lunch will be provided.

Neff has interned with Amnesty International and The Carter Center, as well as local partner organizations of the Human Rights Campaign. She was a corps member in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Class 15 and she has traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where she volunteered at a shelter for girls. Neff will not only shed light on this heartbreaking issue, but she will also discuss a new group home opening in D.C. for victims.

The honors students were inspired by the book "The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today," by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, which they all read as part the campus’ Honors Literary Launch program, which is funded by a grant from Verizon’s Check Into Literacy Initiative.

The students are sharing information on Twitter. To join the conversation, visit http://www.twitter.com/notproperty or look up @notproperty.

Knittany Lion Needleworks will join the effort by knitting and crocheting blue and white scarves. The blue and white not only represents the University’s official colors, but blue is the international color for raising awareness of human trafficking and slavery and white is used to proclaim that a united front and a light for those trapped in darkness. Volunteers are needed to help with this initiative. The scarves may be any length and style, though both colors must be used. Completed scarves can be dropped off to Diane Shorter in the Office of Student Affairs, located on the second floor of the Commons Building on campus.

For more information on the collection drive, fabric sale or upcoming speaker, contact Lauren Orner at LMO5057@psu.edu or Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and Honors Service Project Faculty Adviser Jennifer Zosh at jzosh@psu.edu.

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