Forced labor, child slavery, sex trafficking, domestic servitude and bonded indenture. These are the five types of 21st century slavery and exactly what BC students Mindy Rusu and Cassie McFadden, co-founders of the Freedom for Them club, are trying to end.
You may have seen them holding “End Slavery” signs in the courtyard or having a bake sale in the cafeteria to spread knowledge about what their club is all about.
But right from the beginning one can tell that this club is different than any other club on campus.
Founded in the fall 2011 quarter, Freedom for Them is a non-profit group trying to end modern day slavery by building awareness that slavery does exist today and that it is bigger than ever before.
“The only way to stop something is to make known that it does exist and that it is wrong! Once people are aware of the problem, we can work to stop the problem,” said McFadden. “We are really trying to make a difference in our community, country, and around the world in the lives of people/girls we have never met and probably never will meet.”
What makes this club incredibly unique, though, isn’t just their dedication to the cause, but the selflessness and passion that goes into everything they do.
Even with being so young, Freedom for Them already has had fundraisers that raise money towards bigger organizations, such as the A21 Campaign, whose goal is based around directly fighting trafficking at its source while also working with other aspects within sex/human trafficking. McFadden explains that as a club, they want to help as many different organizations as possible by supporting a different organization every 3-4 weeks, doing a fundraiser, and donating money to them.
Freedom for Them stands as a voice for all the innocent people around the world are victims of this immoral system. To many, the idea of slavery was ended hundreds of years ago when in actuality there is slavery still occurring now and even in Seattle.
One of the biggest parts of human trafficking is sex slavery, where girls (and some boys) are forced to have sex in order to make a profit for the person in charge, also known as a pimp. Sound a lot like prostitution? That’s because it is, but what people don’t know is that 90 percent of prostitutes in the world are forced into that lifestyle. “People need to know, and modern day slavery needs to be stopped,”said McFadden, and the students at Bellevue college can make that happen.
Meetings are every Wednesday in room C103 from 2-3 p.m. Although the club is a Christian based group, believing “God has a hand on this project,” said McFadden, they are always welcoming new people, no matter your background or belief, because modern slavery affects everyone around the world.
During meetings, McFadden and Rusu will usually go over the basics of what human trafficking is for new members, then discuss organizations they are working with and plan fundraisers.
Currently they are planning another fundraiser that will either be a movie event or have a DJ and food where all the proceeds will go to Shared Hope International.
They are also planning off-campus fundraisers to gain a larger profit and are working on planning a big event that will happen some time during spring quarter ,where they will be partnering with other clubs on campus to raise more money and alertness towards the cause. If you love to organize events, have great or interesting ideas, or just want to learn more about human trafficking and get involved, their doors are always open. If you can not attend meetings but are still interested in upcoming events, you can either join the club’s mailing list or check out their Facebook page.
McFadden is very optimistic about Freedom for Them expanding even more to create opportunities for us to help. “We want people to get involved in the ways they can and be able to impact this campus and the world in a big way,” said McFadden. “If none of this appeals to you then you can just spread the word! It’s not always a comfortable subject to talk about, but it needs to be talked about. Don’t be afraid to be bold!”
Freedom for Them brings attention to that difficult subject that many try to ignore. They hope to grow here on campus, as well as create clubs in and out of the state, and eventually turn into a non-profit organization, dedicated to not only spreading awareness about human trafficking, but ending it for good.
The club lets us know that no matter how much we try and disregard it, slavery is not dead. There are still innocent people around the world that are victims of greed in others. Even if you can’t join the club, donate. Every penny can save the life of a helpless human being. As McFadden said,“give them a chance at a new life; a life that you and I already get to have and many times take for granted.”