STARKVILLE, Miss.--First, picture 27 million people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a line from one side of the United States to the other--and back.
Then, consider that this is the number of modern day slaves throughout the world today.
According to a new United Nations report, human trafficking has been detected in 118 countries, including the U.S. Though the majority of victims are women, the number of children trafficked continues to increase.
To raise understanding and awareness of this global crime, Mississippi State will hold a series of events in February and March, including seminars, speakers and a 5K run.
"There are more slaves today than at any time in history and we want to bring more awareness of human trafficking because it is such a huge crime," said Brea Roth, a program coordinator in the university's Richard E. Holmes Cultural Diversity Center.
As defined by the U.N.'s protocol on trafficking, human trafficking includes recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people using an element of force or deception for the purpose of exploitation.
The campus events include:
--Feb. 26, 28 and March 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Human Trafficking Awareness Days, Drill Field.
--Feb. 26, 6 p.m. seminar titled "In Our Own Backyard" about human trafficking in Mississippi led by Susie Harvill, director of Biloxi-based Advocates for Freedom, McCool Hall's Rogers Auditorium.
--Feb. 28, 6 p.m. campus observance of Black History Month and modern-day slavery, McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium.
--March 4, 5 p.m. "Live at 5 - A Right to Torture Girls" in McCool Hall room 128 examining occurrences of female circumcision, followed at 6 p.m. with "Modern Day Slave: Survivor's Account," in the union's Bill Foster Ballroom.
--From 3 p.m. March 6 through 6 p.m. March 7, MSU Student Association's "Stand for Freedom" marathon at which participants will stand in shifts for 27 hours to honor today's 27 million slaves. Volunteer sign-ups may be completed Feb. 26-March 6 at the Drill Field booth or by contacting Amina Bahammou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
--March 7, 6 p.m. start for 5K Run to Rescue. For details and registration, visit http://runtorescue.org.
For more information about the events, contact Roth at 662-325-2033.