USA (MNN) — The number of victims of slavery in the United States has risen well past 300,000. 1,000 of those victims are U.S. children living in the State of Ohio — the fastest-growing state for modern-day slavery.
Ohio also contains the country's second-largest university campus, Ohio State University, an ideal location for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's anti-human trafficking campaign.
"We've been working on the ‘Price of Life' invitational for over two years now, as an organization," says InterVarsity evangelist York Moore. "It's a national campaign that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is conducting to raise awareness and money to help those non-governmental organizations that are on the frontlines in the battle against child prostitution."
To kick off the week-long invitational, 6,000 students will be chained to beds or other people and march down an old underground railroad route in what will be called the "Parade of Tears." Throughout the week, interactive "proxe" art stations will be set up across campus to raise awareness and explain the relationship between Christ and justice. Various films will be shown, and modern-day abolitionists from various NGO's will speak in several classes.
Discussions on change in legislation will take place at the invitational, especially in the presence of speakers such as U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi, U.S. Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy, and Senator Teresa Fedor.
"Modern-day slavery will be addressed from all of these perspectives: from the visual and the performing arts, to engaging the academy at an academic level, to partnering with state and federal lawmakers, to holding opportunities for people in the community–regardless of their faith background, to march and to rally against the evils of human trafficking," summarizes Moore.
The week will raise awareness about sex trafficking as well as financial support for groups working on the frontlines of this abolitionist movement, but ultimately, the week is about Christ. People from all religious backgrounds are welcome to participate in the week's activities, and InterVarsity hopes to see hundreds turn to the truth of the Gospel as a result.
"There is specifically an evangelistic aspect to this that we've really made public," says Moore. "So this isn't some kind of bait and switch, it isn't an aspect that we've kept hidden. There's a unique spiritual component to this as well."
The "Price of Life" campaign will take place from April 18 to 23. For a full itinerary and any other information on the invitational, visit the "Price of Life" Web site. Almost all of the campaign is open to the public; consider attending.
If you cannot attend any of the days but would still like to support the event, click here. InterVarsity hopes to raise $100,000 to be distributed to various anti-trafficking organizations including International Justice Mission, Not For Sale, World Vision, Hagar International and several local groups.
To read part one of this two-part series, click here.