With Atlanta being the top trafficking city in America, Hollis hopes to raise as much awareness in Auburn as possible. Even though Auburn’s chapter of IJM was just formed in January, the race had 90 attendees who came out despite the high chance of rain. Hollis said the event, the chapter’s first big event, was an involved process. “It was a really expensive endeavor,” Hollis said. Sophomore William Harmon said he decided to participate in the race after one of his teachers, who is involved with IJM, encouraged him and his friends.
“International human rights are a big deal and I think people fail to realize and underestimate the international power and effect of sex trafficking,” Harmon said. Harmon said most people do not realize how important the subject is. “It’s a lot more prevalent than you think it is,” Harmon said. “Any little thing you can do like this just to raise awareness and raise money for a great cause, it’s a great idea.” The issues of human trafficking and slavery seem to be something that people only think of as being depicted in movies, like 2009’s “Taken.” But the problem is much more widespread than most people know.
Of the 27 million people in modern-day slavery around the world, 80 percent of transnational victims are female and 50 percent are children. Several race attendees who were not fully aware of the cause before the event signed up after being urged by friends involved with IJM. Others simply enjoy running and donating their time. “This is the first 5K that’s not at eight in the morning,” said Dean Morse, personal trainer at the Student Activities Center. Dan Basik and family even drove to Auburn from Birmingham to support freshman IJM member Kaitlyn Basik. “We thought this would be a good opportunity to learn a little more,” Basik said. Hollis was impressed with the turn out for the new organization on campus. IJM successfully raised $2,000 through race participants and donations. “It’s definitely a cause that we believe in,” Harmon said.