She sits behind a glass wall. The men on the other side of the wall leer at her and the girls seated next to her. She watches as her pimp haggles with a customer. She is in a brothel. She does not know what it means to be free.
This story is featured on the website of the International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization committed to rescuing victims of injustice. Last week, the girl described was rescued by IJM. WSU’s campus chapter provides an opportunity for students to help.
The chapter president, senior nutrition major Rachel Digiglio, said the focus of the club includes promoting IJM’s message, talking about the issues and fundraising. The club shows documentaries that educate students on subjects like human trafficking, forced labor and indentured servitude.
The club’s current project is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, Digiglio said. IJM is working to pass this bill, which will strengthen the fight against slavery in the U.S. and the world. She said the WSU chapter is planning a call-a-thon sometime in the next several weeks, which will give students the opportunity to call their representatives and urge them to support this bill.
“It’s pretty simple, but it can be pretty effective,” Digiglio said.
The club, which started in 2008, is in the middle of a rebuilding process, Digiglio said. Many of their members graduated, so they are working to increase their membership. She said because they are such a small club, everybody who gets involved can make a big impact.
“If you have a good idea and want to do something big, we’re not going to say no,” Digiglio said.
Thangeswary Paleswaran, a senior biotechnology major, joined the club last fall. She is from Malaysia, and moved to the U.S. last year. Paleswaran helps sponsor a child in India through World Vision, but she wanted to do more.
“I try to make a difference, and I thought IJM would be a good start,” Paleswaran said.
Digiglio joined the club at the end of her freshman year, after watching a documentary on Thailand's sex trade.
“It was just really awful,” she said.
Digiglio said one of her goals for the club this year is for them to get more involvement. She plans to advertise more and talk to classes about IJM. She also wants to show more documentary series.
“Even though we’re a small club, we want to make a difference,” Digiglio said.
The club’s next meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the lower level of the CUB. Digiglio said they have not gotten a room yet, but there will be people there to meet any newcomers.