Before I began my work with the Red Thread Movement, I knew very little about sex slavery and human trafficking. I was ignorant to the fact that it actually existed. But it does. And it is very real. If you have not seen the film, “The Day My God Died,” I would highly recommend it.
I knew Brittany Partridge from the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation where we were scholars together in 2009. When I received an email from her last fall 2010, I instantly knew I wanted to be involved. There was something that intrigued me about the idea. I spent a few days researching sex slavery and what was being done to combat this issue. I was disappointed to find that there are very few services or movements that have been organized to help these victims. I jumped on the opportunity to serve! However, I’ll admit, the idea of selling a simple red bracelet, that many suggest they could make in merely 5 minutes, to combat sex trafficking, seemed rather…silly. But it is simple and I was optimistic.
I have loved introducing the Red Thread Movement to the University of Utah! Everyone is so enthusiastic and supportive. Immediately, the students LOVED the bracelets – especially when they learned they were handmade by victims and at-risk girls in Nepal. I have spent a lot of time going from one class to another to spread the word. I have planned and run two events on-campus with forum speakers and a filming of “The Day My God Died.”
One of my most successful activities to promote the Red Thread Movement was tabling. I spent numerous hours setting up a table in our university’s union building or outside on the lawn during spring events to promote these beautiful bracelets. Once we had one student come up to us, within minutes, there would be at least five more asking what we were all about.
We wear their freedom on our arms. It’s a simple beautiful message that not only changes the lives of victims in Nepal and India but helps our community to grow stronger, united in purpose and more aware of this issue. We can help to prevent it in our own communities as well.
As a representative of the Red Thread Movement, I have been privileged to meet with many prominent leaders of human trafficking, particularly those that are involved in combating this issue in Utah. I have grown to further love my community. I was shocked to find that the numbers of victims in the sex slave trade in Utah are rather staggering. Each year, Utah estimates there are over 20,000 victims within our community. Who would have guessed? You never know what you will learn.
The Red Thread Movement is POWERFUL. It changes lives. By wearing a red bracelet, we make a stand for freedom.