The Center for Diversity and Unity teamed up with the Red Thread Movement to host a lecture-based event in the Wildcat Theater on Thursday to bring awareness to the movement, which focuses on stopping human trafficking.
“It’s relevant to students because it is happening here in Utah,” said Keeley Bierwolf, the president of the Red Thread Movement at Weber State University. “The movement mainly focuses on young girls in Nepal, but it happens everywhere and is still a huge problem that people don’t know about.”
During the lecture, the documentary The Day My God Died was shown. It talked about the lives of young Nepali girls who were victims of human sex-trafficking. Following the documentary, there was a discussion with a question-and-answer period on human sex-trafficking in Utah and the United States given by an officer of homeland security.
“Many people believe that it’s not our problem because it couldn’t happen here, but they need to realize that it is happening here in our backyard,” said Mannie Alvarado, who is the Common Ground chairman for the Center of Diversity and Unity. “All we need to do is open the discussion to make a difference.”
The Red Thread Movement’s mission is to bring global awareness to the human rights crime of sexual slavery that affects many young girls and women. Members try to raise the funds to help end human sex-trafficking, particularly in Nepal, and to educate girls in Nepal on how to prevent human sex-trafficking in the area.
“Human sex-trafficking is a human rights issue that needs to be stopped,” Alvarado said.
Sex-traffickers take girls from Nepal and cross the border into India. The border between Nepal and India is an open border, which means the use of a visa is not needed to cross the border. The Red Thread has many border-control units that line the border of India and Nepal, which on average saves up to 800 girls every month. Each border-control unit has a former sex-trafficking victim present to help identify possible sex-trafficking victims.
This movement raises money by selling red bracelets to bring awareness to the sex-trafficking problem. Members hire sex-trafficking victims in Nepal to weave the red bracelets being sold all around the world.
“Each bracelet is $3,” Bierwolf said. “$2 goes to the border units, and $1 goes to the girl that made the bracelet.”
Kimberly Anderson, a senior majoring in political science, felt a direct impact of the sex-trafficking industry when her friend was trafficked from the Philippines to Japan.
“I think sex-trafficking is about an attitude towards women,” Anderson said. “When you explore women issues — domestic violence, sex-trafficking, rape, sexual assault, unequal pay for women — no matter where you look, this is an overall attitude of women worldwide, and I want to change people’s attitudes.”
Anyone who would like more information on the Red Thread Movement or to purchase a bracelet can contact Bierwolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Red Thread website at www.redthreadmovement.org.