HAC Gives Back is a recurring feature focusing on the myriad ways students in the Department of Humanities and Communication give back to charitable causes and the local community.

Sex Trafficking is a large issue in our world today. Many people don’t acknowledge it because it is seen as far from them. What many people don’t understand is that sex trafficking is closer than they think, sometimes in their backyard. According to the Herald Courier, Michigan had 190 sex trafficking cases, Indiana had 66, and Ohio had 292 in 2016 alone.

HAC major Sonsee Jenkins is joining in a national campaign to promote awareness of the sex trafficking issue. The campaign is called “Dressember”. The campaign was created by Blythe Hill, to create awareness of sex trafficking.

Dressember, in Jenkin’s words is “Wearing a dress every single day of December. The purpose is to raise money and awareness for Dressember’s partners, which are A21, IJM, and McMahon/ Ryan Child Advocacy Center. They talk a lot about working to end human trafficking, but really they’re working to end that and so much more.”

Dressember

When asked why Jenkins thinks the awareness Dressember is supporting is relevant today, she said “A lot of people just don’t realize that human trafficking is still happening…and even when they do I don’t think they grasp the magnitude in which it is happening. The biggest obstacle I face doing Dressember is the mentality of, ‘that doesn’t happen here.’ A lot of people think it is happening somewhere far away and not literally in their backyards.”

For those wondering how they can help promote awareness about sex trafficking, Jenkins said, “Just talking about it is huge. It isn’t really enough to know that it is existing and do nothing with that information. Of course, we can’t all be on the front lines rescuing victims, but we can all do small things that help build up to rescue and rehabilitation. In today’s world of social media, it is so easy to find resources and share it with all your friends and followers. That is a really simple, attainable thing that almost anyone can do.”

When asked, Jenkins said if she had the chance to tell our community one thing, it would be that, “Human trafficking is happening right here, and movements like Dressember should matter personally to people because they are making a difference not only globally, but also locally. I would also want them to know that their voice matters. I think in movements as big as what Dressember has become it can be really easy to forget that individuals are uniquely equipped to help in a variety of ways, big and small.”

Jenkins will be wearing a dress every day in December to help raise awareness for the issues of human and sex trafficking. To learn more regarding Dressember and its purpose, go to http://www.dressember.org/.To donate under Jenkins’ name, go to her fundraising page.

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Megan Miller is an English major. She performs as part of the university choir.