On Oct. 25-26, IJM college chapters across the country hosted their annual “Threads” event, which consists of a pup-up thrift store to raise money for their cause. Threads accepts clothing donations from college students, then uses these donations to host their thrift shop. After the fundraising event, each chapter sends the proceeds directly to IJM, which are used for rescuing and providing counseling for trafficking victims. The Samford chapter held their pop-up thrift shop on Ben Brown.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) is an international organization fighting against human trafficking. IJM has offices and college chapters across the United States to fundraise and spread awareness for their advocacy efforts. They are dedicated to strengthening justice systems across the world, detaining criminals and rescuing victims of trafficking.
IJM works hand in hand with their partners on college campuses to raise money for their rescue missions. They hold national fundraising meetings where they work to develop effective fundraising plans to be implemented nationwide. During these meetings, IJM came up with the idea for this fundraising event.
Samford IJM’s President Allison Middendorf joined the organization her freshman year. During that time, she became aware of the abuse that trafficking victims experience and believes that it is incredibly important for college students to be aware of this issue.
“We may just be college students, but there is so much that we can do,” said Middendorf.
Mackenzie Hamilton is the fundraising chair, and she has witnessed the human trafficking industry herself during a trip to Cambodia. After this experience, she felt a strong desire to defend and protect these victims. This passion led her to become an executive member for Samford’s IJM and help organize events like Threads.
Each of the executive board members worked together to bring Threads to Samford’s campus. Hamilton said that this year, Samford IJM had a “solid system” for marketing and advertising helping them. She believes that this was the key to their successful turnout.
Last year’s event gave Hamilton a clear idea of how she wanted to advertise Threads. This year, they were heavily active on social media. They posted announcements on their Instagram account asking students to bring in donations with pictures of the boxes they placed around campus.
Since fast fashion, which often involves sweatshops or child labor, is extremely prevalent, Threads is also a creative way to combat another form of human trafficking.
“That is the other fun part of Threads. Not only are we raising money that goes towards survivors of human trafficking, but we are also combating fast fashion at the same time,” said Middendorf.
Because human trafficking is a major industry, IJM hope to spread more awareness, specifically around college campuses.
“If all this goes to rescuing one girl, or twelve girls, that is still one life that is saved,” said Hamilton.