Stop the traffick!

Arriving inside the theater on Thursday, Oct. 23, students sell candy for a dollar to help aid the young girls that are victims of sex trafficking. Club members sold sodas, candy bars, Skittles, and red licorice to help raise enough money to donate to the founders to rescue the young girls.

Mia Dixon-Slaughter , Co-Editor-in-Cheif

A new club, Stop the Traffick, has been admitted amongst the list of over 50 clubs at Downey High starting with the 2014-15 school year. Stop the Traffick is a club dedicated to raising awareness about sex trafficking, locally and internationally. The club’s adviser, Charissa James, started the club after discovering the issue of sex trafficking. James researched the topic for a while and developed an urge to do something about it. “My first thought when I started studying this problem was, ‘What if this happened to one of our students?’” James said. The initial thought that popped in her head was what motivated her to starting the informational club. After James spoke to a few of her students about sex trafficking and gave them the proper tools and resources to research it, she was able to start the formation of the club. Once the foundation of knowledge was built, these students began to meet up frequently over the summer to discuss their plans for starting and building the club. Senior Amberly Espinosa, president of Stop the Traffick, was emotionally moved after researching the topic which led to her involvement. “On more than one occasion, my reading brought me to tears and I know this was a topic that needed light,” Espinosa said. “I wanted others to see that no one gave it much thought but everyone was subject to the possibility of being a victim.” The club made its debut at club rush in September and since then has been holding fundraisers to not only to shine light on a serious world issue, but raise money for an organization of their choice that helps stop human trafficking. So far, the club has had two sex trafficking documentary showings that have raised $800 all together. Senior Nick Hernandez believes their fundraising will help them achieve all that they want and more. “Our fundraising goal is set somewhere around $2,000,” Hernandez said, “and I am positive we will surpass our goal.” Once the club has reached their goal, they will send all of their fundraising profits to an anti-trafficking organization of their choice. The club is still searching the right organization to support. James hopes to go beyond just giving money to organizations to help. “There is an international organization that builds schools in rural areas of Cambodia,” James said. “Eventually I would love to help create a partnership between Downey and a school like that…” With about 30 active members and already half of their goal of $2,000 fundraised, Stop the Traffick is working its way towards success. The board members anticipate a spike in the number of members and the profits from fundraisers as the club gains recognition throughout the year.