Spartanburg Methodist College sophomore Madison Morehead has a gift for organizing and motivating her peers. So she’s bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations to spotlight an issue that she believes deserves greater awareness: human trafficking.
Morehead wanted to put on an event to educate others about human trafficking, and Feb. 27 several groups at SMC will come together for “27 Has a Name” – a reference to the estimated 27 million men, women and children trapped in human trafficking. “’Our goal is to personalize the issue, because it’s more than a number,” she said. “Each victim of trafficking has a life, a face, a name.”
The event will include drama, dance, and a short presentation to provide information about the issue. “27 Has a Name” will start at 7:27 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium on the SMC campus. It is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Human trafficking is a global problem that is frequently described as modern-day slavery. In many cases, victims are put to work in settings ranging from factories to farms. Some young women – and even girls – are forced into the sex trade.
The issue came to Morehead’s attention when she attended a religious conference in Atlanta as a high school student. It came into greater focus, she said, when she began baby-sitting an 8-year-old girl. “The fact that there are kids her age who are forced into this, that’s what really gets to me.”
Morehead reached out to the leaders of the SMC Players, a student-led drama organization, and the Blue Chucks dance team. Each group is preparing a creative performance to depict the tragedy of human trafficking.
Admissions counselor Josh Holt offered ideas to generate interest and participation in the event. He shares Morehead’s passion for the victims of human trafficking and has been working as part of an organization called Project 4 One to raise awareness about the issue. He will talk at the event about trends in human trafficking, ways to identify those who have been taken into slavery, and means of prevention.
The long-term impact of events like “27 Has a Name” can be difficult to measure, says Morehead. She hopes that students will get involved in social media fundraising campaigns and find opportunities to volunteer. For now, she’s excited about putting on a program to generate discussion and ideas.
“The first step is awareness,” she said. “From there, I hope students will give a voice to the voiceless.”