Wheaton’s International Justice Mission (IJM) chapter hosted a Kickoff and Info Night in the Phelps room to raise awareness about IJM and to educate students on modern-day slavery. IJM is a D.C.-based legal organization dedicated to ending slavery. It was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen, who delivered the commencement address at last year’s Wheaton graduation. College campuses across the nation host IJM chapters.
According to the IJM website, these chapters host advocacy events such as rallies, fundraisers, and justice-centered prayer nights. The event put on by Wheaton’s chapter focused on modern- day slavery and the work that IJM does to “combat injustice around the world,” according to the Campus Announcements email. It was organized by cabinet members President Izzy Voth, Vice President Emily Fallon, Elizabeth Frey, Emma Wen, Jenny Beth Cox, Abigail Smith, Katie Hodson, and Nate Thompson.
To begin, the cabinet members stood at the front of the room and talked about one of the core values of IJM: prayer. A video about modern-day slavery followed the introduction before the cabinet transitioned into prayer and worship with the interested students.
There were about 50-60 people in attendance, and Fallon reported running out of chairs. Two Wheaton College professors spoke at the event after worship. James Huff, an anthropology and HNGR professor, discussed biblical justice.
He used Matthew 6:33 to illustrate his point: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” He pointed out that the word “righteousness” in a Spanish Bible would instead read “justicia,” which means “justice.” Huff emphasized that because God loves justice, it is important to understand what justice is.
Assistant Professor of International Relations Timothy Taylor also spoke on the economic, supply and demand aspects of modern-day slavery. Junior international relations major and Fallon told the Record that Taylor was chosen to speak because of his experience living in the Philippines, which has a massive network of sex trafficking and child pornography.
Fallon said Taylor is knowledgeable about the economics behind slavery. Fallon highlighted how important it is for students to know the supply and demand of trafficking in order to learn how to stop the demand.
Cox expressed excitement for the year’s upcoming events. For one day, participating students will fast for 24 hours, pray for 24 hours and donate 24 dollars to IJM in a “Freedom Fast.” A date has not yet been chosen. Fallon said the purpose of Freedom Fast is to “[raise] awareness and funds to end global slavery.” Any student is welcome to participate.
Cox told the Record about IJM opportunities available through New Name, a ministry based in Glen Ellyn. According to their website, New Name is “a faith-based outreach to women in the adult industry,” and each month “makes calls to over 100 women advertised online for prostitution.”
Cox said the organization is not directly affiliated with IJM in the outside world, but the IJM Wheaton College chapter serves as one of New Name’s call centers in the Chicagoland area.
According to Cox, any woman can be a part of the ministry. The female students on campus meet weekly in the Student Activities Office. Each week’s meeting alternates between making calls and prayer or educational nights.
Fallon said, “I think [IJM is] a great way just to bring awareness to campus about human trafficking and we have lots of tangible ways to get involved on campus, which is something that I love. It’s not just something we’re talking about, it’s something we’re actually doing.” The IJM kickoff was the first event this year to show students tangible ways in which they can become involved and join IJM in learning to combat modern-day slavery.