Organization uses ‘Dressember’ to raise human-trafficking awareness

The annual kickoff for The Dressember Foundation, an organization founded by Blythe Hill that recognizes the month of December as a time for people to have the opportunity to stand against worldwide human trafficking of women, began Dec. 1.

This creative approach to trafficking awareness has found its way to California Baptist University where several women have already joined in the challenge to end modern slavery and violence.

CBU’s Women’s Ministry teamed with the foundation, encouraging students interested in global issues to participate in the advocacy for all women by wearing a dress for the 31 days of December.

Aubree Cutz, staff member in the Office of Spiritual Life and the Challenge Team, went alongside Hill in the creation of Dressember and has participated in the advocacy for about six years.

Cutz said she enjoyed being involved because it reminded her of the women and children around the world who suffer in desperate situations.

“In Matthew 25, Christ calls us to take care of the needs of the people around us,” Cutz said. “I’m doing Dressember so that people are rescued, so that ultimately they can have an opportunity to hear about who Christ is.”

This collaborative movement awakens communities to the importance of ending injustices using artistic, resourceful methods. In recent years, The Dressember Foundation partnered with International Justice Mission, the world’s largest anti-slavery organization, to continue this challenge.

Lauren Hackett, junior graphic design major and president of CBU’s IJM chapter, said it is exciting to take part in a huge resistance movement.

“Students should be aware because once you hear about the realities of what’s going on, there’s no reason for you not to want to do something,” Hackett said.

Calie Clements, senior early childhood studies major and a Dressember intern, also agrees with spreading awareness because it is essential to abide by what the Bible calls Christians to do.

“Fighting for people who don’t have a say is really important to me,” Clements said.

Dressember encourages individuals to confront modern slavery through the unification of all women.

Rachel Hom, Office of Leadership and Transitions graduate assistant and business administration graduate student, agreed this advocacy is an effective way for students to give support.

“It’s much bigger than just wearing a dress,” Hom said. “It’s about praying for (women) being oppressed around the world.”

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