By ADRIANNA TARIN
KEARNEY – Criminal justice students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney are collecting gently used bras for Free the Girls, a nonprofit that provides women rescued from sex trafficking an opportunity to earn a living by selling used clothing.
“Women and Children for Sale: The Global Problem of Human Trafficking” is the topic for the criminal justice portal class at UNK, which is conducting the service learning project called Bras for a Cause.
Collection boxes currently are located in UNK residence halls, at numerous Kearney businesses and the United Methodist Church in Minden. On Dec. 4-5 students also will have a collection table in the Nebraskan Student Union.
Drop locations in Kearney are at Kearney Family YMCA, From the Attic Antiques & Used Furniture, The Village Hairsmith, Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska, Tim & Lanny’s Auto Center, Body Medica and Kearney Arthritis Institute.
Of the 27 million slaves across the world, 80 percent are women and children. Only one percent are rescued or escape.
“As individuals, we can make a difference in this global problem,” said Beth Wiersma, associate professor of criminal justice. “Bras bring the highest prices, allowing these survivors to earn three to five times the minimum wage in their country and the flexibility to attend school.”
With the help of students from her class Correctional Services and Systems and Sex Crimes, Wiersma said more than 300 bras have been collected this semester
“… I was looking for something “hands on” for the students to do to show they can make a difference in the lives of victims rescued from sex trafficking,” Wiersma said. “Once I found Free the Girls, I discovered there are no bra drop locations in Nebraska, so it seemed even more important to pick this project.”
According to Wiersma, students in the portal class should have a strong understanding of human trafficking within an international framework. The students will be able to discuss the underlying social, cultural, political and economic factors related to sex and labor trafficking, and analyze challenges in combating domestic and international trafficking.
For more information about Free the Girls or the bra drive, visit www.freethegirls.org.
Source: Beth Wiersma, 308.865.8510, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Adrianna Tarin, 308.865.8454, email@example.com