© March 25, 2010
By Jaedda Armstrong
About a dozen Regent University students sat still on the campus library stairs Wednesday, their mouths covered by red tape.
As the students stared blankly, the words written on the tape were loud and clear. Hate. Force. Injustice.
The silent demonstration was one of many events used to bring awareness to human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery during International Justice Week.
“These students represent the people who can’t speak for themselves,” said Stephanie Johnson, an organizational leadership student and president of the International Justice Mission at Regent, the group that is sponsoring the week long event.
The average cost of a slave is $90, Johnson said, and about half of trafficking victims are younger than 18.
“Sex slavery, bondage slavery and child slavery still exist in America today,” she said. “It affects every race and class, and it happens right here in Hampton Roads.”
As classes let out, students passing the demonstration whispered and pointed. Others walked over to ask questions and donate money to the chapter fund.
Other activities for the week include a justice Bible study and a candlelight vigil. On Saturday, the students will host a 5K race and a concert featuring the university’s gospel choir and a Christian rap artist. All events are open to the public.
As students headed back to class, the group stayed put. Even though the hot sun beamed on their faces, they planned to stay a few more hours.
“We just hope people will look at us and ask questions,” said Nicole Tutrani, a government major and the organization’s vice president. “A lot of people still think slavery ended with the Civil War.”
Jaedda Armstrong, (757) 222-5846, firstname.lastname@example.org
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