By: Azl Saeed ~Staff Writer~
Through the week of spring break, a group of students traveled to Miami, Fla., for an Alternative Breaks trip to learn about human trafficking, a topic that is especially relevant for Xavier students considering that Ohio ranks in the top states for human trafficking.
Devon James, a junior student who went on the trip, described the first portion of the trip as informative and progressively more hands-on as the week went on.
“We received a lot of information during the first part of our trip through different trainings that we went through. We also did some street outreach to talk to others about this horrible issue,” James said. “I enjoyed that part because everyone we talked to now knows about human trafficking. They may not have heard of it before, but now that they do, maybe they will do something about it.”
Later in the week, students heard from an actual survivor of human trafficking. James described the woman’s story as “inspiring” and “eye-opening”.
“Her story was unique, and she is doing good things and still working on getting help, but to see that she is doing well after all she’s been through is an inspiration,” James said.
After hearing the stories and learning about the realities of human trafficking, students were able to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. For example, students looked through online dating ads to see if any of the women that were posting the ads were underage.
They then reached out to those women to check on them and see if they were in a safe situation.
“Most girls didn’t answer or hung up once they realized why we were calling them, but just to know that we reached out to them and that they know someone cares about them made me feel good,” James said.
To end the week, students partook in a van tour through areas of Miami in which trafficking is especially widespread.
“This tour was my favorite part of the whole trip because it made everything very real and it showed us how prevalent it can be in our own backyard,” James said.
While the trip itself was over at the end of a week, it left an enduring
“I now feel equipped enough to where I can be an advocate for these girls that are involved in such a horrible life in the hopes that others will want to help them as well,” James said. Once more people know about human trafficking, then, I believe, real change can occur and more help can be given to these girls socially, politically, mentally, and physically.”