Social Justice Week promotes focus on human trafficking, child slavery

Last week, several organizations participated in Geneseo's Social Justice Week, raising awareness and money for areas of the world specifically known for human trafficking – the illegal sale of humans for acts ranging from domestic work to sexual abuse and child slavery.

Sophomores Ronni Chow and Minji Lee organized Social Justice Week, planning a different event for each day.

"Once different clubs came together and began to express interest in the cause, we started to organize the events," Chow said. "All of the organizations came together to form an even bigger group."

Junior KelliAnne Connolly, a member of both Amnesty International and Invisible Children, was also vital to the organization of the week. "Generally people came forward because human trafficking is such a blatant wrong," she said.

On Monday, Amnesty International hosted a screening of the 2004 documentary Born Into Brothels. The film follows the lives of about 10 young children of prostitutes, growing up in brothels in the red light district of Sonagchi, Kolkata.

The film showed the lives led by the children as New York photographer Zana Briski taught them the art of photography and how to look at their lives through a lens. As Briski made every effort to lead the children astray from the path of their mothers, the children opened up about the living conditions of brothels.

Those in attendance had the opportunity to send a letter to different countries through the Urgent Action Network, which aims to bring attention to countries that violate human rights.

On Tuesday, Invisible Children screened two films about young women and their lives in northern Uganda, the site of an ongoing 25-year civil war. The first film, Grace, detailed the life of a girl who was kidnapped at 10 years old and raped for three years until her escape. The second film, Roseline, showed a young woman who acquired HIV at birth.

Senior Sam Perez, president of Invisible Children, explained the situation in Uganda. "Invisible Children works to help the youth suffering from the war," she said. "It's an entire generation of kids that has never seen a time of peace."

Tomorrow's Hope in North Korea hosted a "drop dead" demonstration on Friday near the college green to raise awareness for the war in Korea. "Literally, people are just dropping dead in North Korea and the demonstration is aimed to show people what that is like," said junior Lydia Jeong, treasurer of T.H.i.N.K.

Throughout the week, participating groups sold jewelry sent from Women at Risk International, an organization aimed at the protection of women who are at risk of human trafficking and domestic and sexual violence. Women in safe houses all over the world make the jewelry, and proceeds from the sales go directly to W.A.R.

A benefit concert was put on Saturday to close the week, in which student groups Hips ‘n' Harmony, Love Handles, LFSflOw and Silverfish performed in Sturges Auditorium. Proceeds went to the Bangladesh Child Protection Program, which works to protect children of brothels in Bangladesh from abuse and exploitation.