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Saturday, May 28, 2022
The student organization Force for Freedom encouraged UW-Madison community members to sign a petition Tuesday that urges Congress to fund initiatives to end slavery as the first event for their annual Freedom Week.

The student organization Force for Freedom encouraged UW-Madison community members to sign a petition Tuesday that urges Congress to fund initiatives to end slavery as the first event for their annual Freedom Week.

Abolitionist student organization raises awareness of human trafficking

Yes, there is slavery in Madison, according to the student organization Force for Freedom, which used the response to raise awareness of modern-day slavery during a petition-signing event Tuesday.

The student organization teamed up with International Justice Mission—a group that works to fight human trafficking and corruption—to plan events for Freedom Week, which kicked off with the Rally for Freedom petition-signing on East Campus Mall. The petition urges Congress to fund the End Modern Slavery initiative.

“At UW-Madison and across the country it's important that college students are raising their voices to not only Congress but also those around them,” Dan Mackett, a college student mobilization program manager for IJM, said. “If we can get college students who are going to be the next leaders of our county and our world aware of the issue and passionate about helping to end it, that's going to help affect change for generations to come.”

The group and 50 other college campuses across the nation had a Rally for Freedom event. They aimed for 100,000 signatures by the end of the day. Though the groups had 20,000 signatures nationally before the event began, total numbers following the rally have not been tallied.

Force for Freedom will host a speaker who survived human trafficking Wednesday, according to Abby Sutherland, a leading member of the group. They also will hold a brunch Friday with A Just Brew, which will collect monetary donations for IJM.

Sutherland said the group hosts events annually, but Freedom Week is their main occasion each year. She said they also host worship events and pray for the organization, which she said is an essential action to make the Madison community aware of.

“I think it's a really important movement because a lot of people are unaware of the slavery that is happening right here in Madison and also worldwide,” Sutherland said. “Once people know and have a passion to make a change, that justice will be brought to these people who are enslaved.”

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