Hope College and two area churches will host multiple presentations in conjunction with “Breaking Chains: Bringing Awareness to Holland about Human Trafficking,” running Monday-Friday, Feb. 23-27.
The public is invited to all of the events, although advance registration is required for the opening film and discussion. Admission is free.
The events will begin on Monday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. with the documentary “A Path Appears” and discussion in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall, organized by WGVU. Based on the book by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the film offers a global perspective, showing cases from Colombia, to Haiti, to Kenya, to the U.S., in examining the roots of sex slavery and possible solutions. The follow-up discussion will be facilitated by Shelley Irwin of WGVU, and will feature a panel including Andy Soper, founder and owner of Five Arrows Consulting; Gail Harrison, founder and executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance; and Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge, Manasseh Project coordinator. Registration is by visiting wgvu.org and clicking the Home page banner “a path appears.”
The activities will continue with the documentary “Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth” on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium. The film-makers traveled to more than 30 states and conducted more than 75 interviews to chronicle domestic-minor sex trafficking and the modern-day abolitionist movement fighting to stop it.
John Cotton Richmond, a federal prosecutor who serves as the special litigation counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, will make two presentations on Wednesday, Feb. 25. He will speak during the college’s Chapel service at 10:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, and at 7 p.m. at Pillar Church in an event that will include music through the non-profit group Songs Against Slavery. Richmond has investigated and prosecuted numerous victim-centered labor and sex trafficking cases throughout the United States as well as criminal civil rights crimes, and frequently serves as an expert on human trafficking for the United Nations’ Working Group on Trafficking in Persons and at the European Union’s multilateral meetings on human trafficking.
The week will close with the film “In Plain Sight,” on Friday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Moran Park Church. The church and Songs Against Slavery are partnering together to host a screening of the newly released documentary produced and narrated by Christian singer Natalie Grant. The documentary visits six U.S. cities for interviews with numerous victims of sex trafficking, exploring also the positive impact of a sex trafficking after-care home.
The week will also include additional events for the campus community.
In addition to the community organizations noted previously, several programs at Hope are co-sponsoring the week, including Campus Ministries, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Provost’s Office, the Dean for the Arts and Humanities, the Dean for the Social Sciences, the Department of History, the Department of Political Science, the International Studies Program, the Department of Religion, and the Uprooted and Hope United for Justice student organizations.
Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street. Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets. The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. Moran Park Church is located at 163 West 22nd St. Pillar Church is located at 57 East 10th Street.