Sorority plans week to promote awareness of human trafficking

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Khappa Phi Lambda vice president Gloria Lee conducts a human trafficking workshop using scenes from the movie ‘Taken’ as part of the sorority’s philanthropy week Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Kappa Phi Lambda informed students about how human trafficking is a local problem despite misconceptions that abductions only happen overseas.

Kappa Phi Lambda sorority, a member of the Texas Asian Pan-Hellenic Council, pulled attention to the contrast between the reality of human trafficking and its portrayal in the media on the third day of its annual philanthropy week, “Fight the Fright.” Human trafficking is the focus of the sorority’s local philanthropic group, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

Gloria Lee, textiles and apparel and pre-med senior and vice-president of the sorority, led a punctuated screening of the movie “Taken” to cite the differences between kidnapping and prostitution on screen and in real life. Lee said the sorority advocates for Asian women who have fallen victim to human trafficking. In association with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Lee said the sorority works to raise awareness of and to fight modern forms of slavery.

“When we talk about human trafficking, the first thing you think of is prostitution, but there isn’t a particular group or race that is targeted,” Lee said.

“It’s a very real business, and it does happen in America.”

Government involvement in human trafficking helps to make it the second most profitable criminal field in the world behind drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Errors in movie and TV depictions stem from the incorrect perception that people are not smuggled in their own communities.

“Just because we don’t see it happening doesn’t mean it’s not right in front of us,” Emily Leigh, advertising senior and Kappa Phi Lambda member, said. “People forget that it’s not always prostitution. It can be slavery of any form.”

Accounting junior Shawn Ngoh said the event helped the issue seem more relevant to student life, because it brought up the different kinds of people involved in abduction.

“I never thought of it as a business. Knowing that some of these guys are just businessmen making money to take care of their families makes it so real. They don’t have to be gangsters; they could just be walking down the street,” Ngoh said.

Kappa Phi Lambda will host a lemonade stand fundraiser Thursday in support of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, a movement to promote social equality for Asian Pacific Islander women, to conclude “Fight the Fright” week.