For students who were searching for an outlet to get involved in international issues, a recent speaker who came to the College provided them with an opportunity to on March 25.
Cheryl Noble, director of Student Ministries for the International Justice Mission (IJM), presented a talk about this human rights agency and how to get involved in it. The Protestant Bible Fellowship, the New Jersey Christian Fellowship, the Progressive Student Alliance and the Presbyterian Reform Campus Ministries sponsored the talk, which was followed by a Q-and-A session.
IJM, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has 14 offices around the world. It started up 10 years ago thanks to Gary Haugen, a lawyer in the Department of Justice who was put in charge of the investigation into genocide in Rwanda.
Haugen became distraught because of the situation in Rwanda and founded IJM to respond to the growing need for people to stand up against slavery, genocide, sexual abuse and other forms of oppression.
The agency has since become a helping hand for exploited people around the world, fighting injustice by rescuing victims, providing aftercare to them, prosecuting perpetrators and bringing change to communities in which injustices occurred.
“Students have power,” Noble said.
In her talk, Noble showed several videos of various cases IJM has worked on. The videos showed footage shot with an undercover camera by an IJM official who was gathering evidence to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes. The videos illustrated the stories of a slave in India, young girls forced to work in brothels in Cambodia and a Kenyan citizen who experienced severe police brutality. All of these victims were aided by IJM.
IJM’s casework mainly relates to slavery, police abuse, illegal detention, forced child prostitution and sexual violence. Noble said there are about 27 million slaves and 1 million new victims of child prostitution each year. In the developing world, about 40 percent of girls are raped or sexually assaulted and 50 to 85 percent of prisoners are in jail with no charges brought against them or trials, she said.
“When she said that there are 27 million slaves around the world, I was so shocked. I thought slavery had been mostly done with a long time ago. But it makes me realize how much oppression there is out there and how much I need to be educated about it,” Maria Florida, sophomore nursing major, said.
During her senior year of college, Noble interned with IJM for one semester and then, as a graduate, proceeded to travel around the world as an advocate for the oppressed. She urged students to become passionate about bettering other people’s lives and seeking justice for victims of oppression around the world.
“Students have passion and take risks,” Noble said. “Think about the power you have now. At the least, you can get the word out.”
Emphasizing the importance of educating and inspiring young people, Noble provided information on internships students can complete with IJM for either a semester or summer. For more information, visit ijm.org.