Students spend 27 hours fasting to raise awareness for human trafficking

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Fasting has been a means of protest for centuries, and DePauw University students recently undertook the challenge on campus to spread the word against slavery.

On Friday, Nov. 7, DePauw’s International Justice Mission (IJM) organized an event called the “27-Hour Fast” where students abstained from food for 27 hours to remember the 27 million people who are still slaves of human trafficking in the world.

27-Hour Fast had two objectives in addition to raising awareness against human trafficking. They wanted to remind the participants that while they were fasting and felt hunger pains, those pains symbolized what victims of human trafficking struggle with everyday. Participants were encouraged to pray for the slaves. This event incorporated Christian values to help advocate for those suffering.

During the fasting event, the IJM had four stations to help make fasting a smooth process and raise awareness for their cause simultaneously. Meredith Lockman, president of IJM; Melinda Ervin, vice president of IJM; Rodelyn Lipumano of InterVarsity Christian Leadership and Jordan Lienhoop coordinated the event.

The first station provided students with more information about the organization and the strides it takes to combat human trafficking. Sexual exploitation remains one of the greatest issues throughout the globe. Many victims of human trafficking are often trapped in their situation and need organizations, like IJM, to raise awareness to stop the oppression in society.

“It's a worthy cause. Human trafficking is a terrible, terrible thing and I think it's something no one can stay neutral on,” Perry Grimwood, senior and participant in the 27-Hour Fast, said.

At the second station, there was a letter writing activity. Here, participants could express their feelings about human trafficking to IJM workers and other survivors. Following this activity was the third station where students could draw pictures or paint to describe their thoughts about human trafficking.

“[My favorite part of the 27-Hour Fast was] Just having everyone gather in a place where we could learn more about human trafficking and express our thoughts was great,” Ervin said. “The movie viewing also got everyone talking and asking questions, which was a part of our goal to raise awareness about human trafficking.”

The fourth and final station played a video called “Human Trafficking” to the audience. The film had two parts and featured the stories of victims of sexual exploitation. The characters were fictitious, but their stories were accurate depictions of the daily struggles and abuse that people face as a result of human trafficking.

Lockman said, “the fast was also a great way to come together to discuss the issue and pray for those who are currently victims of human trafficking, those who have survived the ordeal, and those who are working to end it.”