posted February 4, 2013

Human Trafficking Awareness Week to Feature Multiple Events Feb. 15-22

Hope College will feature multiple presentations in conjunction with “Breaking Chains: Hope College Human Trafficking Awareness Week” running Friday-Friday, Feb. 15-22.

The public is invited to all of the events.  Admission is free to all events except for a benefit concert on the last day.

“Our intention is to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on this issue to help the community understand and imagine solutions to the problem of modern-day slavery,” said Dr. Jeanne Petit, who is an associate professor of history and director of the college’s women’s studies program, which is organizing the events in conjunction with other campus departments and groups.  “The speakers and presentations will analyze this issue from global, national and local perspectives.  The programming involves talks by scholars and activists, as well as a documentary and a benefit concert.”

The presentations will begin on Friday, Feb. 15, at 10:30 a.m. with the college’s Chapel service in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  The featured speaker will be Andy Soper, project director of the Manasseh Project, an outreach ministry of Wedgwood Christian Services dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of young men and women in West Michigan.

The activities will continue with the presentation “Modern Day Slavery and the Corporate World” on Monday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall by Banu Demiralp, a 2000 Hope graduate who is co-founder of Anka Rising.  Based in Alexandria, Va., Anka Rising seeks “to provide an effective and collaborative platform for private enterprises, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to combat and eradicate modern-day slavery,” focusing on raising awareness among businesses to include human trafficking issues in their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The film “Not My Life” will be shown on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., with discussion following, in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.  Filmed on five continents over a period of four years, “Not My Life” zeroes in on the fact that the vast majority of trafficking and slavery victims are children.

A presentation by “Hope for the Voiceless,” led by 2012 University of Michigan graduate Luke Hassevoort, will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.  “Hope for the Voiceless” was founded by a group of students from a variety of backgrounds to develop awareness of the problem of human trafficking and to help audiences recognize their own culpability in the problem.

The address “Slavery Now and Then: Methods for Change” will be presented on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall by Dr. Stacey Robertson, who is the Oglesby Endowed Professor of American Heritage and director of the Women’s Studies program at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.  Also a founding member and co-president of Historians against Slavery, Robertson argues that 19th-century Abolitionists can serve as a model for the abolition of modern-day slavery.

The week will close with the concert “Songs against Slavery,” a benefit event for the Manasseh Project, on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.  Participants will include Hope bands:  Grace Theisen (junior, Hickory Corners) and Jared DeMeester (junior, Grand Rapids), Dooga Fruit and D-topp, and Ben Lemmen (junior, Holland), and Andy Soper from the Manesseh Project will speak.  Tickets are $5, payable at the door.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.  Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.  The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.