On Wednesday, the International Justice Mission (IJM) Club hosted its annual Coffeehouse: Sing for Freedom fundraiser featuring lectures from Hannah Lloyd (sophomore RA of Jungle in Founders), Michaela Meneghini (freshman), and Morgan Barney (sophomore) on the injustice of sex trafficking. Musical performances from Courtney Williams, Quintessence, Sarah Lyons, and others featured themes of love, care, peacefulness, and generosity.
According to Victoria Yang, president of the club, about 20 other college campuses host similar events in support of IJM. All proceeds, like donations and the $2 entrance fee, go to IJM.
In her lecture, Hannah Lloyd said, “We are supposed to be the generation of people that cares about human life.” She discussed her trip to India from last summer in relation to the subject of sex trafficking. According to Lloyd, IJM wants to get to the root cause of human trafficking to end it. She said that the people who are trafficked the most are those who are bullied, do not see themselves as valued, or run away.
Lloyd said that the root of the issue is that people do not see their real value, especially their value in Christ. She said, “They don’t have people around to tell them who they really are,” and that we need to value those people and love them well.” She also said, “I would encourage all of you to care not just about people but to also think about the history of injustice.”
Lloyd believes that having encouraging conversations and thinking about how we can love people every day will make a change. According to her, “there are patterns in our culture that devalue people,” and “we need to really care about the people Jesus died for.” Lloyd concluded by saying, “loving people daily and fighting for justice is where IJM begins.”
Michaela Meneghini spoke on her trip to Nicaragua, discussing the decade of civil war there in the 1970’s and how this has led to other problems. According to her, 70 percent of men in Nicaragua are 30 years old or younger, which leads to major unemployment issues. Furthermore, Meneghini said that women there are sexualized and devalued. She stated that Nicaragua has the biggest number of deaths by domestic violence in the world.
According to Meneghini, bad job conditions, inadequate housing, unhealthy use of pesticides, political problems, and other issues all build up to severe circumstances. She encouraged prayer for the political climate to cool down, no revolution, for workers in Nicaragua, and for God’s hand to be present there.
Morgan Barney talked about the country of Moldova, which she said “is known as the engine of sex trafficking in Europe.” She explained that girls are mostly trafficked from orphanages when they wait at bus stops. Barney said that these girls are tricked into sex trafficking by being told they would have real jobs.
According to Barney, “The life expectancy for people brought into sex trafficking in Moldova is one to seven years.” She said that the Save Our Sisters organization recently teamed up with Moldova Missions to build a home for girls who have gotten out of sex trafficking.
Barney encouraged people to “take the time to pray, step back, and think about how the Lord wants you to help.” She said, “if we’re only giving lip service rather than taking action, we’re doing the same as the rest of the world. Without Jesus, we may as well have done nothing at all.” Barney believes that God is “a Lord of justice” and that we can end sex trafficking with the power of the Holy Spirit.