By Angela Bratt
Student, Honors College
The Honors College is a place for students to be challenged, meet new people and make a difference. One notable instance of this, Honors V.O.I.C.E.S. is an initiative and organization that provides students with the ability to make a difference in the world we live in. Standing for vision, outreach, international, community, education and service, this organization is action-minded and is meant to inform and encourage members to be a voice and a solution to the many problems that exist within the world.
In today’s world there are a lot of people who are underprivileged and underrepresented. Therefore, while Honors V.O.I.C.E.S. exists to shed light on all of such related issues, the primary focus is on human trafficking. Unfortunately, the world has seen a major increase in human trafficking.
According to human rights organization Equality, human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing crime. Sadly, sex trafficking is currently estimated to be a $99 billion-dollar industry. Overall, the entire human trafficking industry earns over $150 billion dollars a year for traffickers (International Labor Organization, 2017). The majority of victims are 96 percent, are woman and girls, with males making up the other four percent (Equality Now). There are an estimated 24.9 million victims constrained into forced labor, with the majority of victims being exploited for sex (International Labor Organization, 2017). Thus, this is a major issue that is happening all over the world. For example, within the United States, there were over 8,524 recorded human trafficking cases in 2017 (Human Trafficking Hotline, 2017). Yet, these are only the cases that have been reported.
With this knowledge, the Honors College at GCU seeks to be a leading force of awareness and action in this fight against human trafficking. Our organization exists to make students aware of the atrocity and educate about how to spot signs of it and how to be a change maker. To further students’ understanding of this problem, there is a vision trip to Cambodia and Thailand, which is open to 16 honors students and will be led by full-time Honors College staff Anna Confrancesco. This trip allows students to learn more about the hidden truths behind this global issue and have the chance to interact with victims, visit red light districts and to be faced with the issue head-on. This trip partners with the organization Destiny Rescue, an “internationally-recognized Christian non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing children trapped in the sex trade. [Their] vision is to rescue the sexually exploited and enslaved, restore the abused, protect the vulnerable, empower the poor and be a voice for those who can’t speak up for themselves” (Destiny Rescue, 2018). The trip will take place from June 8 – June 22, 2019.
The Honors College encourages their student body to join Honors V.O.I.C.E.S. and be a part of the solution. The organization is inter-disciplinary and open to any interested students. Throughout the year, Honors V.O.I.C.E.S. will be sponsoring various events to raise awareness and inform the GCU student population of the issue and how to make a difference.
Interested in learning more about Honors V.O.I.C.E.S. and how to get involved? Contact Anna Cofrancesco at Anna.Confrancesco@gcu.edu.
To learn more about how you can join a community of likeminded honors students in making change in the world, visit our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.
- “Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet.” Equality Now, 2018.
- International Labor Organization. Forced Labor, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
- “Human Trafficking by the Numbers.” Human Rights First. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/human-trafficking-numbers
- Destiny Rescue. Who We Are: About Us. https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/who-we-are/about-us/
- Human trafficking hotline. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states