Newman University was selected to participate in “Shut Out Human Trafficking Awareness Week” April 11 through April 16 with a series of events to raise awareness and educate the public about the worldwide epidemic.
The week is sponsored by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and the United States Fund for UNICEF – the U.S. non-profit, non-governmental organization that supports the United Nations Children’s Fund – in collaboration with the Newman University Athletic Department and Gerber Institute for Catholic Students at Newman University. Newman is one of only 10 colleges and universities nationwide that have been selected to host Shut Out Human Trafficking Awareness Week for the 2015-2016 academic year. Other selected institutions include Arizona State University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Detroit Mercy and Villanova University.
Many students, faculty and staff participated and facilitated events on campus such as a prayer service, a panel, a picnic, a fair trade gift market and more. One student, senior Wesley Williams, participated in many of the week’s events and said he believes students should take a stand.
“Human trafficking is a scourge that plagues the world,” he said. “It’s one of the few widespread violations of human rights that impacts everyone. As students, we are the future leaders of our communities, the nation and the world. As future leaders we need to be prepared to take a stand against this atrocity. The events throughout the week were important for students to learn more about trafficking and to acquire the tools necessary to combat it.
On Thursday, “Not My Life,” a film focusing on the problem of human trafficking, was shown in Jabara Flexible Theatre. Williams said the movie had a large impact on him as it shed light on the human trafficking problem not only globally, but also locally.
“The movie in particular showed how trafficking isn’t only an issue impacting Asia and Africa, but all areas of the world, including Wichita,” Williams said. “It shed more light on the crime of human trafficking and gave, for me at least, more motivation to take a stand against it.”
On Friday, as part of the week, Newman University Staff Assembly held its annual Silent Auction in Mabee Dining Center. The auction raised funds for Newman Hearts and Hands fund and the Wichita Children’s Home center for rescued victims of human trafficking. More details, including the amount raised will be available next week.