GREENCASTLE -- What started out as a five-hour brainstorm for a "dream event" for two DePauw University juniors will soon come to fruition as a weekend event full of education and advocacy on the issue of human trafficking.
A series of events scheduled for Sept. 10 and 11 on Hannah Street, "Stopping Traffick" aims to call attention to the issue of human trafficking and is the brainchild of DePauw juniors Michelina Ferrara and Margarita Villa.
Ferrara attributed a conference at Indiana Wesleyan that focused on human trafficking she and other members of women's rights organization Feminista attended that was "very community based" as inspiration for "Stopping Traffick."
"It sparked something in us, that, hey, we could be doing something like this that's rooted in the community but raises awareness and asks those critical questions as well," Ferrara said.
Developing activities and organizing speakers supporting all perspectives for "Stopping Traffick" was a summer project for both Ferrara and Villa, who asked various outlets on campus for financial support to put on the event.
The pair is expecting speakers to travel from across the country, including world-renowned sex workers rights advocate Carol Leigh, who will be giving a special presentation at "Coffee and Traffick" from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Blue Door Café.
"Stopping Traffick" will include presentations by scholars, victims' advocates and a survivor of trafficking and will focus on raising awareness and striving for advocacy of this issue, which has international, domestic and personal implications. The programs are free and open to the public.
Part of the event also includes going out to area schools to encourage discussion and raise awareness on the topic of human trafficking.
Ferrara said while the event is not only educational, she has a bigger purpose in mind for what "Stopping Traffick" could do.
"We wanted to plan an educational advocacy event that would help us be more informed as students and as activists but also to propose solutions and to see human trafficking as something that is definitively a global issue but is also an issue that's local," Ferrara said.
Villa placed a strong emphasis that the event is not strictly limited to the DePauw student community; with help from Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and advocacy groups in Indianapolis, "Stopping Traffick!" has a goal of reaching out to a broader community to reach a common goal.
"Also building coalitions with other students, faculty and staff but as a Greencastle community, a Midwest community and say, 'hey we can unite and actually fight an issue that's as big as this," Villa said.
The schedule of events is listed at prindleinstitute.depauw.edu/programs/upcomingevents.asp#StoppingTraffick
Register for the event at stoptraffick.eventbrite.com or contact event organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org