How did you and your team learn about IJM?
We had been planning a human trafficking awareness week and wanted to do a fundraiser event at the end of it. We all did our own research on anti-trafficking organizations and came to the conclusion that we admired the work that IJM does and wanted to support it.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your team? How did you get started?
There were four students who took part in the whole event. Mataya (grade 12), Zoya (grade 12), Katie (grade 11), and myself, Katharine (grade 12).
As I had been doing my own personal research on this issue, I realized that a lot of people, especially my age, don’t know the realities and dangers of human trafficking. So, I asked my school if it would be okay to do a Human Trafficking Awareness Week, and they agreed!
I then went to the high school classes and asked if anyone would like to participate in planning this whole thing, and three awesome girls agreed! For the next few months, we had frequent meetings to plan.
Tell us about your personal justice journey. What led your passion about injustice?
When I was around 12, I went to a small missionary conference with my mom, and to be frank, I didn’t even know what it was about, I was just there because I had to be. Then I heard someone begin to talk about a young girl, around my age, in Africa, who was forced to marry someone she barely knew and made to do horrible things. This was very upsetting for me to hear, but it made me think “if I was in her place, I would want, and need, someone to help me”.
I realized that I am in a position of privilege, and therefore have a responsibility to help those who are trapped. I couldn’t just ignore this suffering because it would make me uncomfortable.
We all learned so much through this whole process. I don’t think any of us were truly aware of the awful realities of the issue. Although I am personally passionate about this issue, my friends who did this with me are amazing girls with so much compassion for those in need.
What have you and your team learned from your justice journey?
We all learned so much about the complexities of this issue. We heard so many personal stories and learned how the corruption in this world leads to this dehumanizing crime.
We not only began to realize that we have to help those who are victims and spread awareness to prevent more people from becoming victims, but also need to change the way people and governments see and treat them.
What fundraising activities has your team done?
On the last day of the awareness week for human trafficking at school (Friday) Katie Murphy, organized a pizza fundraiser where part of the proceeds from each pizza slice was put towards this cause.
That same day we had planned an anti-human trafficking coffeehouse during of which we did a presentation to bring awareness of human trafficking globally, initiatives we can take, and about IJM’s work. It included a silent cake auction where over a dozen of cakes were donated for this cause. Also, a local artist donated hand painted pins for us to sell.
Describe one of your favourite moments from your event.
Team member, Mataya, said this, and I think this sentiment stands for all of us, “The coffeehouse fundraiser was probably my favourite part. There was such a great turn out and overwhelming support from everyone. The music was amazing, and the presentation seemed to go great. It was so encouraging to see people come out and show interest in the issue.”
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
I hope to learn as much as I can about this issue, so as I further my education, I can continue to help in any way possible. I hope to join the fight against human trafficking by working with an anti-trafficking organization, and helping in the rescuing and supporting of victims, preventing of future victimization, and fighting to change laws and legal systems to favour the rights of people affected by trafficking.
What’s the #1 tip you would give someone who wants to get involved and fundraise?
“Do a lot of research and planning. I think that it’s very important to educate yourself first before teaching others. Also, the more I learned, the more passionate I became on the subject and telling others about it.” – Mataya
Tell us an item from each of your bucket lists.
Katharine: To live abroad in Europe and/or Asia and work on the ground with victims of sex trafficking.
Zoya: Travel to Russia.
Mataya: Go on a long-term mission trip.
Katie: Write a book.