Hannah Flayhart and Grace Ann Hollis, two current seniors at Auburn University, share a common passion for putting an end to human trafficking.
Hollis and Flayhart have been actively working since they were freshman to help spread awareness on the issue.
Through hard work and persistence Hollis and Flayhart have started an International Justice Mission chapter here on Auburn University’s campus.
The chapter meets every other Thursday in the student center, room 2225 at 8:30 p.m.
The chapter raises awareness and money for the organization, along with sending resources.
“I feel like this is just the beginning of it getting big,” Flayhart said.
The girls decided to start the chapter after hearing a sermon on human trafficking at First Baptist Opelika.
“I had never heard of it or even knew it was an issue before Auburn,” said Flayhart.
IJM is a human rights agency that works to bring an end to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and any other form of violent oppression.
IJM is made up of investigators, lawyers and aftercare professionals who work with local officials to help with victim rescue and to prosecute perpetrators.
In order to get the chapter up and running Flayhart and Hollis talked with many different people who were apart of campus organizations.
Not long after Flayhart and Hollis were able to talk to an adviser and find other people who shared the same passion for justice as they did.
“The first year and a half was just us making mistake after mistake and learning from it,” said Flayhart.
Hollis and Flayhart had a hard time planning all the events, advertising and learning how to get a team working together.
In order to get the chapter up and running Flayhart and Hollis used a lot of social media, word of mouth, class presentations and church ministries.
“People want to be apart of something that is bigger than them,” said Flayhart.
The chapter started spring of 2010 and become official in fall of 2012. It currently has a few hundred members and is continuing to grow.
“It has really been cool to see how much my heart has grown for justice and human trafficking because it was something I was not expecting to care about this much,” said Flayhart.
Flayhart is now applying for both a summer internship with International Justice Mission, along with a yearlong internship in one of their many field offices.
Flayhart came to Auburn University studying international french business until the Lord slowly changed her heart.
She is now in counseling and plans to attend grad school.
Flayhart is not worried about the chapter continuing after her and Hollis leave.
The chapter is made up of many young students with new visions and new passion.
“The issue sells itself,” said Flayhart.
There are now 168 campus chapters and that number is still growing.
The IJM headquarters is working to get a list of all the various campus leaders involved with IJM in order to compose a contact sheet.
This will allow the chapters to grow and everyone to work together in supporting one another. It is all about networking and building connections through the program,” said Flayhart.