Avesh was promised a better life in America as opposed to Myanmar’s (formerly Burma) poverty. Rosario was offered a chance to make money in the Philippines. Lydia was abducted on her walk home in Boston. Each of these stories belonged to children; each of these stories ended in human trafficking.
Students gathered in the Brower Student Center Food Court on Thursday, March 31 for the finale of the weeklong Price of Life event. Sponsored by the New Jersey Christian Foundation (NJCF), the presentation was held to raise awareness about the 27 million people trapped by human trafficking and to fight against the injustice of the $10 billion industry, as noted in NJCF’s Price of Life fact sheet.
Three NJCF members performed monologues depicting victims of sextrafficking and slavery. The students crafted their own stories based on real-life events, according to freshman biology major Yohan Perera.
Senior nursing major Michelle Co portrayed an 11-year-old girl, Rosario, who was born ninth in a family of 12. The death of Rosario’s mother placed a financial burden on the family, causing her father to only keep the three oldest children. While living on the streets of the Philippines, she was offered money in exchange for “chores.” Her first chore generated $12, the price of her virginity.
“I don’t think any child or teen should ever have to go through something like this,” sophomore deaf education and history double major Ashley Blansche said. “The more people know, the more people can help out to stop it.”
Duo act junior biology major Mitch Berman and sophomore English major Kathryn Ashbahian performed a cover of Jon Foreman’s “Instead of a Show.” Berman strummed the acoustic guitar while Ashbahian sang along.
Next, the National Evangelist for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, U.S.A., and modern day abolitionist and author, York Moore, spoke on the industry itself.
“(The) sex slave industry is threatening the very fiber of what it is to be human,” Moore said.
According to Moore, over 300 thousand slaves are in the U.S. alone and the trafficking industry is the fastest growing illegal enterprise. The average age of those trafficked is 15, but some can be as young as 5. Moore said that the supply only exists because of the demand.
He asked, “What possesses a man to drive hundreds of miles to pay to rape a child?”
Moore said, “Sex trafficking gives us a window into the broken soul.” Instead of settling with power, he asked that power be used to fight indignation.
Moore passed around a jar for students to drop in either red or white stones; red symbolizing followers of Jesus and white symbolizing those committed to the fight for justice. After the stones were cast, Moore held up the intermixed jar, which represented decisions that would shape the audience’s future.
“One person standing up and saying something is huge,” said the president of NJCF and senior psychology major Melissa Chu. “We cannot be naïve and silent.”