Hannah Flayhart, Andrew Dillard and Brianne Arps are some of the individuals at Auburn University who choose to take a stand against oppression and injustice. Although passionate now, they admitted to not always knowing that human trafficking and slavery exists in the world today.
Flayhart, a senior, said, “A friend and I were sitting in church and the pastor mentioned an organization called International Justice Mission and what they do to stop slavery. There wasn’t a campus chapter here, so we talked to the pastor and he put us directly in contact with International Justice Mission and they sent us a 30-page campus toolkit.” Now Flayhart and friends raise awareness about the issues of human trafficking and raises funds for International Justice Mission
Andrew Dillard, a senior, got involved with International Justice Mission when he heard about Auburn’s chapter during a Bible study. He said hearing about it made him more aware of the world that exists outside Auburn University. “The main thing is no matter what you believe as far as religion or background and just step back and take a look at the world around you,” Dillard said. “It doesn’t have to just be about slavery, but things like poverty as well. We need to change our focus now so that when we are out of college, we can do things to help the world around us.”
Brianne Arps, a junior, was somewhat familiar with the term human trafficking, but became more educated while watching an episode of “Dateline.” Arps said she was broken up and confused about the things she saw on the show and they stayed with her for months. “A random Google search took me to the IJM website, then I found the Auburn University IJM chapter so I just showed up to the first meeting and knew right away that I wanted to get involved,” Arps said. She is now the campus chapter’s event coordinator.
Flayhart is also pleased with the direction of the chapter is taking as a whole. “It has grown incredibly since we started it and I want it to continue to do so. It started out with four or five good friends and has now grown to about 400 people.”
No matter what the chapter does, Arps, Flayhart and Dillard all agree that letting people know that trafficking and slavery are issues is the key to success.
“Forty years from now when we are telling our grandchildren how human trafficking got abolished, we have the opportunity to say that we were the ones who wouldn’t stand for things like that anymore, Arps said. “We have the opportunity to leave our mark on the pages of history and that is something for us to get excited about.”
Learn more at Austin Lankford’s The Auburn Plainsman article: International Justice Mission works to stop human trafficking.