Audacious Abolitionists Fight Back at William Woods University

William Woods University students,
led by a young woman from Odessa, Mo., have been striving the last few months
to create what they hope will be an inspiring call to arms for students in the
face of injustice in the world.

Kristen Withrow, president of the WWU
chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM), has been working with members
of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and IJM to set up Audacious Abolition Week,
a week meant to publicize the harm, and hope, of human trafficking.
The week, Feb. 4-7, will include four
events, kicked off Monday night with the Elegantees fashion show. Other events

  • A
    walk-through exhibit, assembled by the members of CRU, will open at 7 p.m.
    Tuesday in Aldridge Lounge.
  • The
    film, “Taken,”will be shown at 6
    p.m. Wednesday in Dulany Auditorium.
  • Three
    stories of freedom from modern slavery will be presented at 6 p.m. Thursday in
    the Library Auditorium.

“Taken” is a
2008 French action thriller film starring Liam Neeson, who plays a former U.S. CIA operative tracking down his daughter after she is
kidnapped by human traffickers while
travelling in France.
Withrow said that “Taken”first sparked her interest in fighting
human trafficking, and also led to the birth of IJM at William Woods.
“IJM was started here about two
years ago,” said Withrow, explaining that a group of students was moved to
start a chapter after hearing a speaker from IJM that CRU brought in. Now IJM
hopes to inspire other students to join their cause.
“’Taken’ was the film that first
introduced me to human trafficking. That’s kind of where I first found my
passion for it and realized that it exists in North America and Europe, and not
just third-world countries.”
She said it is the perfect film to
introduce people to trafficking. But putting together these events has been
more than just finding a good movie to show.
“Oh, good gracious,” laughs
Withrow, when asked about preparing for the event. “My inbox is exploding
with messages!”
She’s been sending emails and making
phone calls “like crazy” for the last two-three months, just trying
to set up the four events.
One of the events, the Elegantees
fashion show, came together as a result of a Facebook contact.
“The designer for Elegantees
actually contacted us over Thanksgiving break,” Withrow said. “She
found us through our Facebook page, William Woods IJM, and started talking to
us about doing a show with her new 2013 line.”
The clothing was designed by Katie
Martinez and has been sewn by women in Nepal who have been rescued from human
Withrow said the William Woods IJM is
excited to share more of Martinez’s story and “try to inspire the students
to think about their education and their career goals and talents and what
they’re good at and to combine that with something that they’re passionate
about and see how they can use their gifts to change the world, too.”
Despite the work, Withrow says she’s
enjoyed putting the four events together.
“It’s been so much fun, and I
can see that God’s blessing is really on it and things are falling into
According to Withrow, the message of
the week is not one of sadness, but of hope.
“We don’t want Audacious
Abolition Week to be dark and depressing. So often when people talk about
trafficking it’s, ‘trafficking is evil and awful and sad,’ and it is. But if
you leave it there, then nothing gets done about it. We want this week’s
message to be one of hope.”
Kristen Withrow, president of International Justice Mission at WWU