Monday, May 13 2013 12:24 PM EDT2013-05-13 16:24:04 GMT
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CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
According to human trafficking experts in the state, Mississippi is a major corridor in the billion dollar illegal industry. Tuesday night Mississippi College students began participating in an effort to end human trafficking.
The students are literally taking a stand against the human tragedy. Students braved near freezing temperatures to stand throughout the night, joining more than 500 colleges campuses across the country in prayer to call attention to the problem.
Stand for Freedom event organizer Allison Cooper read aloud a part of a petition that will be sent to President Barack Obama, asking that he commit his second term to eradicating human trafficking, or modern day slavery.
Cooper, a senior Biology major from Hattiesburg, planned the overnight effort in collaboration with the International Justice Mission.
The Christian human rights organization estimates that there are 27 million slaves around the globe. Mississippi College students will stand for 27 hours in one hour shifts in the quad to take a stand against human trafficking.
"We just really want people to know that students care about this issue. That issue of human trafficking happens right here in the United States. Over 14,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year," said Cooper.
Tuesday evening students also signed the prayer wall, tracing their hands and pledging to pray for the victims and for an end to the illegal $32 billion a year industry.
Shanu Moorthy and Amelia Breitling are in the group taking the first one hour shift.
"It's a really big problem, and we live in a great place and we're so blessed and lucky to be here and there's such a big problem out there and we need to raise awareness," expressed freshman Shanu Moorthy of Madison.
"Even something as simple as standing for an hour, there's gonna be people all across the world standing at this time and what better way to bring awareness than just stand so it's something simple we can do," said Amelia Breitling a sophomore from Pensacola, Fl.
Students also learned more about the world's second largest criminal activity and the facts behind the abductions and kidnappings that lead to prostitution and forced labor. The student led campaign will end Wednesday night at 9 p.m. with a worship rally and celebration in the quad on the Mississippi College campus.
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