When slavery in America is brought up, it is in the context of the transatlantic slave trade of more than two hundred years ago. This was not so during Washburn’s Slavery Awareness Week.
The goal of Slavery Awareness Week, which ran from Feb 27-29, was to shed light on the slavery that is still going on nationally and around the world.
Paige Stonerock, an anthropology and mass media major, said that slavery is not as obscure as it is made out to be.
“When we talk about slavery, we’re talking about people who are held against their will, whether psychologically or in chains,” said Stonerock.
The events started with speaker Andrew Ogede with Invisible Children. He spoke about the relation between terrorism and human trafficking. Chandanie Watawala, a human rights worker, spoke the next night on slavery in Sri Lanka.
According to Watawala, Sri Lanka has been known as a “child sex paradise” since 1980. People come to Sri Lanka from all across the world, mostly from America, to exploit boys of ages 8-15 and put movies of the mistreatment online. She also spoke about child soldiers who have no future because they are kidnapped at a young age and are trapped in that situation.
“The only education [they receive] is military,” said Watawala.
Thursday’s events included an art exhibit in the Washburn Room titled “Reflections on Modern Slavery.” In addition to the artwork, students had a chance to be a part of a national petition against slavery. The event coordinators collected pictures of people holding signs that said “Slavery still Exists” to be sent to the Polaris Project as a visual petition.
Mimi Chakarova, a photojournalist, showed the documentary “The Price of Sex” Thursday, Feb 28. The film featured women in Eastern Europe who are trafficked into other countries and are sometimes tricked into going.
Friday included a “Jam for Justice,” a fundraising concert held at The Celtic Fox which included the bands Blue Orleans, Bridges and Euphoria String Band.
Danielle Smith, sophomore, believes it is important to learn about these types of issues in order to figure out what can be done to help.
“It’s for your benefit,” said Smith. “That way [we] don’t repeat those mistakes.”