Students Reach Out to Trafficking Victims

WILMORE, Ky. — A simple tube of lip balm could provide a path to freedom for victims of human trafficking in Central Kentucky, thanks to the recent efforts of a group of Asbury University students.

The national hotline for human trafficking is attached to each tube of lip balm distribted by the students.
The national hotline for human trafficking is attached to each tube of lip balm distribted by the students.

The students delivered small containers of lip balm — each tube with a sticker with the national human trafficking hotline number — to 17 locations in Nicholasville, Ky. The locations included laundromats, gas stations, hotels and other locations in which people trapped in sex or labor trafficking situations might see the number and be able to call for help.

The idea for the outreach arose from a similar project in Lexington, Ky., earlier in 2013 by Kentucky Rescue and Restore. Laura MacFarland ’14, who had attended the Lexington outreaches and serves as president of Asbury’s student group Threedom, was inspired to seek out trafficking victims even closer to campus. She scouted a list of likely locations and checked them out with the Lexington Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Kentucky Rescue and Restore has seen amazing results just in the months since its beginning, with calls to the hotline from Kentucky going up by 71 percent, and for Lexington up by 62.5 percent,” MacFarland said. “Previously, social workers who work with human trafficking victims said the victims had not seen the hotline number, so they weren't able to call for help — they were rescued or got out some other way. We're so excited to be branching out into Nicholasville. We know for a fact that human trafficking is occurring there, but as far as we know, there's nothing being done to reach out and advertise the life-saving number. It's a great opportunity for Asbury to be involved in this global issue.”

Threedom will continue to collect lip balm for future donations. To donate, contact Threedom through its website at threedomfront.org.

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