With paint brushes and canvases, International Justice Mission hosted its very first “Painting for Freedom” event to educate individuals on the severity of human trafficking.
“The goal of ‘Painting for Freedom’ is to get more awareness for IJM on campus, as well as [hold] a small fundraiser,” said Cassie Hall, president of International Justice Mission.
The nonprofit organization held this event Feb. 7 from 12-3 p.m. Students paid $4 to paint a canvas while learning about human trafficking.
"IJM was reestablished on campus in fall 2015, so this is our third year back on campus,” Hall said. “This chapter of IJM focuses on raising awareness for human trafficking on campus and in the Toledo area, volunteering with and for other agencies and organizations who share similar missions of ending human trafficking and fundraising to support anti-human trafficking efforts.”
International Justice Mission was founded in 1997 by lawyer Gary Haugen. Although based in Washington D.C., the organization has 17 field offices in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, South America and South Asia.
Haugen, the CEO, said he started this organization to address the plague of predatory violence amongst the poor as there are over 27 million people in the world held as slaves.
A research subcommittee of the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission has estimated that 2,879 youths born in Ohio are at risk for sex trafficking and that 1,078 will become involved in modern-day slavery over the course of a year.
Since Toledo is ranked as the fourth-largest city regarding youth-sex trade in the U.S., Toledo’s chapter of IJM focuses most of their work on ending sex trafficking.
In addition to this, they also help survivors in readjusting into society and raise awareness on injustices of human trafficking. The group holds meetings on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the Student Union room 3020.
“I joined IJM fall 2016,” Hall said. “I was wanting to start my own anti-human trafficking organization, and then at the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, I found IJM. I started going to meetings and knew this was the organization for me."