Slavery still exists today

Festival to bring awareness to human trafficking

It is estimated that 21 to 30 million people are in slavery today, according to

Ferris registered student organization FSUbuntu is partnering with The No Project for the Anti-Slavery Art and Music Festival from 7-9 p.m. on April 10 in the West Campus Community Center.

According to, The No Project is an independent anti-slavery public awareness initiative.

The Anti-Slavery Art and Music Festival will feature anti-slavery imagery and illustrate themes of control, profit and violence. All proceeds will go to The No Project.

Grand Rapids is one of the six cities in Michigan with the most calls received by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, according to The Polaris Project. Slavery can be anything from forced child labor to unwanted sexual exploitation.

The No Project’s goal is to inspire change in the next generation.

“Young people have the power to create change,” read. “To do this effectively, they must be well-informed, proactive, globally aware citizens.”

For Ferris junior criminal justice major and FSUbuntu member Shannon Fick, human trafficking is a topic about which she is very passionate.

“This event is going to help bring awareness of this terrible issue to campus,” Fick said. “There are so many different avenues of human trafficking than just the sex trade like most think.”

For years, FSUbuntu has wanted to host an event on world outreach topics. Fick suggested human trafficking.

“This semester we made it a priority and created this event to spread awareness about this issue and we wanted to do something fun and interesting for students,” said FSUbuntu President and Ferris senior biology and pre-veterinary major and Emily Pietrowicz.

Pietrowicz said the art and music festival idea came from projects seen online for The No Project.

“We liked [The No Project’s] goals of creating sustainable solutions for these issues and other global awareness projects done as part of their campaign,” Pietrowicz said.

Ferris freshman pre-medicine major and FSUbuntu member Aaron Zebolsky said he has personally done a lot of background research on human trafficking for this event.

“I have been amazed at many of the statistics I have found, and I am eager to see people’s reactions to the same information when it is displayed during the festival,” Zebolsky said.

Slavery happens to more people than reported and this event hopes to shed light on the issue.

“Perhaps after attending the festival, they will be less inclined to laugh at or make degrading jokes,” Zebolsky said.