Winthrop University Wesley Foundation Takes Human Trafficking Seminar
The United Methodist Seminar Program is hosting a group of 15 students from Winthrop University Wesley Foundation in Rock Hill, S.C., for a two-day seminar on human trafficking. This seminar falls in the midst of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
A strong correlation exists between human trafficking and violence against women. Women and girls comprise 80 percent of the 800,000 people trafficked annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation. The violence that many human trafficking victims face is emotional, mental, physical and sexual.
It is difficult to fully understand the violence that human trafficking victims face. The students from Winthrop’s Wesley Foundation will have a glimpse of that life by meeting with James A. Levine, author of The Blue Notebook. This novel is the story of Batuk, a 15-year-old girl from rural India who is sold into sexual slavery by her family. Batuk uses pen and paper to share her thoughts and escape her reality.
Levine was inspired to write this novel while in India investigating child labor. He was walking down the Street of Cages, the famous red light district in Mumbai, and saw a young prostitute standing outside her cage writing in a blue notebook. Levine states, “Having worked in numerous underserved areas, I’ve found that the mantra ‘Education is the answer’ is invariably touted as pivotal to any solutions. That being so, I could not reconcile with the image of the child prostitute who wrote.”
The students participating in this seminar will learn about trafficking in all its forms from such organizations as:
- Sanctuary for Families
- End Child Prostitution and Trafficking USA (ECPAT-USA)
- The Door
- National Organization for Women (NOW)
Then the “Not For Sale” campaign leads them into conversation about how to get involved in the work to end human trafficking as both college students and people of faith.
Tying everything together is the time spent in devotions and theological reflection in the Tillman Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations where the students will engage in several lament Psalms to consider how the Bible deals with sorrow and despair.
To learn more about this important issue, click on the links to the organizations listed above.
Read The Blue Notebook and discuss it with friends or read United Methodist Women Reading Program books such as The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam and Children at War by P.W. Singer that deal various forms of human trafficking.
Contact the Seminar Program to schedule your own seminar on human trafficking.