In the fall of 2011, Bound was started to raise awareness about human trafficking. “I think it started [because] we see people who are hurting and don’t have the right to be free,” said junior psychology major, Merissa Milnickel, president of Bound.
Human trafficking is defined as the exchange of money for humans, mainly regarding sexual or any other forced labor. “People who are drawn to Bound are drawn to the fact that [human trafficking] is wrong and they want to do something to change that,” said Milnickel.
There have been victims of both genders and of all ages that have been forced into this lifestyle. “When I learned about this in high school it broke my heart,” said Milnickel. “I think our stereotypical view of prostitutes [is] that they have a choice and are over the age of 18.”
Many students gathered at Bound’s first meeting in 2011 and spent hours discussing human trafficking and their plan to help stop it. Milnickel said that students participating in the club have been able to express their beliefs on AU’s campus regarding human trafficking since the club first started.
Officers of Bound have been aware of human trafficking since being in high school. “My world history teacher took an entire class period to explain what it was because he pretty much figured no one had ever heard about it,” said Alaina Ellenburg, Bound’s public relations secretary. “Coming to college, I knew I wanted to be involved in some sort of group involved with the issue of trafficking.”
Ellenburg also stated that the leaders of Bound engage in many events in the community off campus. “We are learning that it takes a team of people whose hearts break for those who bear experiences in this life that many of us will never have to live with,” she said.
One of their partnerships is with an organization called Stripped Love, which spreads awareness about sex trafficking and allows people to receive training to help victims of sex trafficking all over the world.
Bound also has a connection with Purchased, another human trafficking organization in downtown Indianapolis. Purchased offers a mentorship to victims of human trafficking as well as a way for them to connect with resources that they are not required by law to use. “We’ve learned a lot from them,” said Milnickel. “When we network, it’s really about learning and seeing what we want to do in the future.”
Milnickel mentions that Bound members will be traveling with TRI-S to Atlanta, Georgia in the summer. While there, they will partner with Andy Odle, who leads a program called Church on the Street in Atlanta. Working with Church on the Street will allow membersof Bound to minister to people all over the city and seek out current victims of human trafficking.
Bound plans to spend a week in Atlanta, witnessing to people in efforts to help make positive changes in the city. They also want to take trips to other countries in the near future.
In addition to these trips, Bound has hosted interest meetings and a 24-hour prayer in Miller Chapel where people could come in and out to pray for victims of human trafficking.
They also participate in events outside of Anderson in order to gain more knowledge of human trafficking and its effects around the world. “Each week we try to learn more about the issue within our world,” said Ellenburg.
With fliers, chapel announcements and information in Stall Talk, Bound aims to bring more students into the club. “It’s not about number, obviously, but we think that this is such an important thing as Christians and that this is something we can’t just throw money at,” Ellenburg said.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and there is an interest meeting for Bound coming up on Wed., Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at Eastside Church of God.