January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and at California Baptist University some professors and students strive to bring as much awareness to the issue as possible.
According to the National Trafficking Human Resource Center, in the U.S., there have been 4,168 human trafficking cases reported in 2015, which include cases of sex and labor trafficking.
In California alone, there have been more than 711 cases reported, which is the highest number from all states.
Marilyn Moore, associate professor of behavioral sciences, has worked closely with nonprofit organizations in the Riverside area and at CBU to help bring awareness to the issue.
“Last year, we had a conference on campus with three Riverside-area nonprofits, with specific focus on sex trafficking,” Moore said. “We had 350 at-risk youth, parents and guardians in attendance. There were six individual workshops with speakers from the district attorney’s office, the Gang Task Force, Women Wonder Writers, Street Positive and an organization that helped teens get off the streets in the Riverside area.”
Sex trafficking is the highest reported case of human trafficking. According to the NTHRC, in 2015 there were more than 3,000 cases of sex trafficking reported, with females at a much higher risk than males.
Moore is currently working with the nonprofit organization Sunburst Youth Academy to aid girls who have been victims of sex trafficking.
“A number of the girls in that program have been trafficked,” she said. “I will be speaking there next month and will address the issue then. I am also a motivational speaker and have addressed this issue and the risk factors for teens at least four to five times a year.”
Moore said she believes it is important for CBU students to be aware of this issue because any person can be subject to human trafficking of some sort, no matter their race, gender or socio economic status.
“All students should be aware of significant social issues,” Moore said. “Every young person is vulnerable to life events that could possibly lead to risk factors. Christians are not immune to the dangers of substance abuse, domestic violence at home and personal trauma.”
Jordan Beuch, junior communication studies major, is involved with the International Justice Mission chapter at CBU that works to bring awareness to the issue on campus and students, faculty and staff.
“IJM is a worldwide organization that rescues people from slavery,” Beuch said. “As a part of that, they have campus chapters throughout the country inviting students to take action whether it may be fundraising, advocacy or prayer. As a campus chapter at CBU, we will be doing a campaign, ‘Stand For Freedom,’ in which the chapters across the country come together to partake in. We are also planning fundraising
opportunities, as well as documentary nights.”
CBU offers other ways in which students can get involved with raising awareness. Moore mentioned the sociology program has connections with several nonprofit organizations in the Riverside area.
They are also connected to the Riverside District Attorney’s office, where they get
updates on events going on in the community that students can attend or participate in regarding the issue.