By: Alison Ziegler, firstname.lastname@example.org
An organization dedicated to ending slavery is hitting the ground running at MSUM.
Lee Muellenbach, a senior majoring in psychology, wanted to start a chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM) after she took a three week mission trip to Cambodia. IJM is the largest international anti-slavery non-profit organization in the world.
IJM’s overall goal is to end slavery within our lifetime. The organization was formed 20 years ago and has 92 chapters on college campuses around the world.
After volunteering and observing the hardships people were going through, Muellenbach came back to the U.S. and wondered how to make a difference.
“I came back to America and said ‘hmm … what should I do?’” said Muellenbach. She decided to look into IJM and see what their mission was and how she could incorporate the program into her life.
Muellenbach started the MSUM chapter as a way to raise awareness of slave labor.
“I think it is something a lot of people shy away from,” she said.
The on-campus group has started to build traction through some of the programs its hosted. The first happened last spring and it was called “Henna for Human Rights.”
The IJM chapter held another program on Anti-Slavery Day on Oct. 18. The chapter set up a booth and handed out informational packets about modern slavery.
Two senior students, Samantha Geiser, an English and mass communications major and Stephanie Mongulla, a biology major, spent the day sharing the details of modern slavery.
“There are over 40 million people who are being forced into slave labor,” said Geiser.
Both students went on to define slave labor as including sex trafficking, bonded labor, property grabbing and more.
“There are currently more slaves now than there were at any of time in history,” Mongulla said.
While at the informational booth, Geiser and Mongulla handed out fliers.
The fliers included a mission statement, stories from people who endured modern slave labor and a pamphlet called “8 Ways for a College Student to Fight Modern-Day Slavery.”
The list on the handout included the following ways:
· Get educated
· Find out your “Slavery Footprint”
· Look for fair trade labels
The “slavery footprint” is the number of slaves you symbolically “own” based on the life style one lives.
Prayer is one of the main ways IJM helps and supports the community-along with fundraising and advocacy.
“IJM is not a Christian ministry, but it does have a Christian background,” Muellenbach said.
IJM is not the only student organization at MSUM looking to abolish slavery. In an upcoming event, IJM will partner with Cru, a Christian organization on campus, to raise money to put toward the rescue efforts for those trapped in slavery.
The event, called “Freedom Fast” will be take place Nov.8 and will last through Nov. 9.
The idea is to go 24 hours without food, pray for 24 hours and give $24. People who would like to donate but not participate in fasting or prayer, are still encouraged to participate however they can.
Muellenbauch encourages interested students to attend IJM’s campus meetings, which take place on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. in CMU 218.