This March, 13 youth and 3 adults from both Kansas and Nebraska visited New York City and Washington D.C., to learn more about the ways that Christian people can affect the world around them. This year they studied the issue of human trafficking; however, the skills and strategies may be carried over to other issues that bother the consciences of followers of Jesus. Youth relate especially well to the issue of human trafficking because too often, young people are forced into sex slavery. Before the trip, they read the book Not For Sale to gain an overview of the issues.
This year in NYC, students met with Damayan, a group focused on assistance to Filipino victims of human trafficking. The first-hand story of Lydia drew youth in; they could relate to the tragedy she and her family experienced.
Mid-week, the group traveled to Washington D.C. where they work to clarify their learnings and to approach lawmakers to lobby for better legislation with hopes of making changes in the root causes of human trafficking. While meeting in the office of Senator Jerry Moran, the youth were able to express their concerns for specific changes.
Evan Williams, aid to the senator and expert in the human trafficking issue, spent quality time with youth to hear their concerns and suggestions. He made suggestions and encouraged youth to continue their efforts to effect change. The youth were gratified by this visit.
The IAS ideal is to understand a significant issue, to draw on the Christian faith to examine the concern and to then develop strategies to combat the forces at play. This year, based on the responses of the youth, there were significant learnings, and the group developed specific action plans.