A group of students joined together on the Gainesville campus to protest human trafficking on Wednesday, March 29, from noon to 1 p.m. The students walked around campus holding signs that said “Human For Sale” and “Stop Human Trafficking” and handed out yellow brochures that gave more information on human trafficking.
“We just walked around and handed out our brochures and tried a social experiment to see if we could potentially sell people and to see how people reacted,” said senior and sociology major Emily Drew, one of the protesters.
The students from the protest are members of the class “Special Topics: Human Trafficking.” Dr. Carly Redding teaches the class and is an advocate for helping those who are involved in human trafficking. The class decided to join together to protest in hopes to bring awareness to the issue.
“This was an out-of-class project, and the entire class participated,” Drew said. “We all did different things — I created the yellow brochure you got, another brochure was created by another student, we had signs, made T-shirts, walked around and protested, and then we made a video in class and we hope to get played in the student center eventually.”
Some people ignored the protesters, while others were receptive, Drew said. When the protesters asked passersby outright if they would like to buy a classmate, they would quickly walk away. If they asked if they would like to hire someone as a maid at little to no cost, however, students were more receptive to what the protesters had to say.
“Both are examples of human trafficking,” Drew said. “So as a sociologist, I thought it was interesting to see how even though they were both human trafficking examples that some people are OK with one form, but not the other form of human trafficking,”