Student starts International Justice Mission chapter

Stand for Freedom is one of the events IJM holds to raise awareness of human trafficking. Photo from Penn State University used under Creative Commons license.

By Ronna Fisher, Assistant Editor

The university’s newest student organization seeks to combat oppression, such as slavery and sexual exploitation.

Stacie Vernier, sophomore, has had the hope of beginning an International Justice Mission chapter at SNU for about a year, and now it is coming to fruition.

“I’m starting this club because I have a heart for the broken and oppressed, and I believe that as a Christian it’s my responsibility to help those around me,” Vernier said.

“Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 32 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry,” states IJM.org, the online home of International Justice Mission. “International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.”

Founded in 1997, IJM’s home base is Washington D.C. and has 16 global field offices found in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. While some of their work is bringing information and awareness to others, the organization seeks four outcomes: 1) victim relief, 2) Perpetrator Accountability, 3) Survivor Aftercare, and 4) Structural Transformation.

Made up of more than 500 lawyers, investigators, social workers and other staff, IJM attempts to bring freedom to the oppressed, take legal action on the real oppressors, provide support and a fresh start to victims after rescue, and to work in the law and country’s system to strengthen local judicial courts so end abuse and oppression for good. Approximately 95% of their staff are nationals of the countries where they serve.

According to their website, “An IJM Campus Chapter is a group of students concerned about issues of injustice who desire to work together as advocates for the oppressed in a world of suffering.  Campus Chapters raise their voices on behalf of victims of injustice through prayer and advocacy. Campus Chapters raise awareness on their campus and community of the reality of oppression in our world. Campus Chapters raise support to enable IJM to rescue more victims of oppression.”

The club is free to join and for anyone who wants to make a difference. Vernier emphasizes that it is a club for anyone and everyone.

“I’m really excited to start this chapter on our campus so that other students can be a part of it and join me. I think we have a great student body and I’m looking forward to other students bringing their ideas and talents to this club,” Vernier said.

The SNU chapter will have monthly meetings and events in which anyone can participate.

“I plan on this being a very active club, not only on campus but also in our community. I really want to make a difference in the community that we live and interact with everyday. I want to reach out and not just promote awareness but actually do something about it,” Vernier said.

Be waiting for chapel announcements or emails with more information. Posters will also be appearing on campus soon. Interested students can email Stacie Vernier with any questions or for more information at svernier@mail.snu.edu.

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