Schoepf is a Drake graduate and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
I heard more passionate and vocal outcries over injustice today on Drake’s campus than I have in a very long time. I watched groups of students get angry, devastated and bothered today. But not over the fact that they learned about 1.8 million children being lied to and tricked into sex trafficking around the world or upon hearing that 2 million children are sold into sex slavery every minute. No, the passionate outcries of injustice (in person, on Facebook and even chalked on the sidewalks of campus) were about burritos.
They didn’t get their free burrito as promised; a truly maddening injustice.
This week, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is sponsoring a week-long campus immersion event called “Jesus, Justice, and Poverty.” It’s an event that our group puts on every three years to highlight issues from all over the world that we think Jesus cares about and that are relevant to the whole of campus. This year, the issue being highlighted is human trafficking and, more specifically, sex trafficking. Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry in the world. Humans are being bought, sold and used for labor, sex and anything in between. In this industry, 1.8 million of the people sold are children, and they are involved specifically in sex slavery. These children (and adults) have not chosen to put themselves into the ownership and slavery of another human — they have been put there by someone else. Tricked. Lied to. Deceived. Parents have been told “your child deserves a better future — I will take them to the city and allow them to work at my shop for great pay and will make sure they are well taken care of.” The parent lets them go, believing that something wonderful awaits the future of their child and their family, and instead they arrive in their new home to discover the job they have been hired for is having sex with whoever can afford them. Their family, their innocence and their freedom have completely vanished forever. It’s that simple.
So, we attempted to bring awareness to this particular piece of trafficking today on campus — answering the question, “how does it happen?” Just like that. Just like a flier advertising free burritos in the student union and upon arrival, there are no burritos, and instead you’re given a “SOLD” stamp and explained that you have just been “trafficked.”
Then, you were given information about what exactly human trafficking is and its impact on our world today. You were encouraged to be aware, to be concerned and to take some kind of action.
There were many silent responses; people did not even know how to wrap their minds around the facts just shared with them. Some wanted to know more. Others asked what they can do to help. And then there were the passionate ones who shouted angrily “This is bulls–t!” (At the lack of burritos, not the facts about sex slavery). Or, there were the ones who, after hearing the facts about human trafficking, said “Wait, so there really are no burritos?” and stormed off. People were angry, annoyed and passionate enough that they wrote on sidewalks in chalk: “Free burritos is a lie!”
We knew today’s event would have some push back. But honestly, the hostility of some students was shocking.
So, let me say this. I’m sorry, Drake University, that there were no burritos and that many of you were the victims of our trafficking experiment. But, I’m much more sorry at some of your responses.
Be thankful that today was simply an illustration, and that you are still free, that you are not someone’s sex slave or forced into hours of manual labor until every debt of yours (times 10) is paid in full.
You’re free enough to jump in the car and head to Chipotle.