College Student’s Red Thread Movement Helps Nepali Survivors posted by Casey Acierno on 04/13/12 @ 2:13pm via mtvU's Against Our Will Campaign
What would you expect your average teenage girl to be doing at the age of seventeen? When she was seventeen, Brittany Partridge went to volunteer at a safe house for survivors of forced prostitution in Romania. It was the first time she was faced with the reality of modern-day slavery. She wasn’t the only seventeen-year-old girl there, though. Brittany says, “I was astonished to learn that some of the girls there were the same age as I was at the time. All I could think was, ‘That could have been me!’”
Affected by what she saw in Romania, a few years later Brittany co-founded the Red Thread Movement (RTM) while in college at Abilene Christian University. Brittany describes RTM thusly: “Now a global initiative to combat human trafficking, RTM has created employment opportunities and supported trafficking prevention through the sale of $3 red bracelets handmade by women and girls affected by sex trafficking in Nepal. This international social venture has employed more than 100 Nepalese women and girls at-risk for human trafficking.”
More than 75 colleges have a RTM presence, including Princeton, Boise State University, Cornell, and Cardinal Stritch University, and have supported the org by holding fashion shows, 5K runs, evening formals, and more. “As a college student myself, it has been so rewarding to provide my peers with a concept and a catalyst and then watch them run with it and take the impact of Red Thread further than I could ever have dreamed! That is the power of a passion for social justice thriving on the ideas of thousands of individuals,” says Brittany.
More than 180 musicians have also gotten involved with RTM, including Seabird, Harp And Lyre, and Ivoryline, by selling RTM products and shouting out anti-trafficking awareness onstage. “(The bands) have an incredible ability to influence diverse and dynamic audiences at their shows and while on tour, presenting a powerful call to action,” Brittany says.
Brittany hopes that other college students will also take on the issue of human trafficking. “It can be easy to ignore an issue that seems far off and disentangled from our lives. Sure, you may feel badly that human trafficking occurs, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t you being trafficked, it wasn’t your best friend being sold into a brothel. One of the greatest challenges I have faced personally when trying to engage people in this issue is apathy: Why should I care?” Brittany responds by letting people know that human trafficking happens right here in the US; additionally, the everyday actions that people take can perpetuate the demand for goods and services that are provided through human trafficking.
“This is a problem that does hit close to home, both physically and psychologically,” says Brittany. “The tragic thing is simply that most people have not recognized it yet. The world is a big place, and I know that I myself cannot end human trafficking, but already I have seen the power that one simple idea can have on groups of people all around the world. I am dedicated to standing up for justice. My only question is: Who’s with me?”