At 10 a.m. Tuesday, a group of Kent State University students began to stand on the brick K in Risman Plaza. They plan to stay there until 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The "Stand for Freedom" aims to raise awareness of the estimated 27 million people around the world living in slavery. The group also is collecting petitions to push President Barack Obama to address the matter, said Erin Hawe, who organized the demonstration.
"We're raising awareness for the 27 million people who are exploited around the world today, whether it be in sex trafficking, violence and the many categories human exploitation can fall under," Hawe said. "We're giving people an understanding, knowledge and getting the world out there. It's going well so far."
The demonstration is part of a nationwide campaign organized by International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that works to end slavery and oppression.
Katie Fife, a sophomore early childhood education major at KSU who is involved with Stand for Freedom, said about 200,000 slaves are still trafficked through the United States today.
"Most of them are women and children trapped in sex trafficking," Fife said, adding that Ohio is third on the list of U.S. states where the activity is most frequent.
Hawe said the petitions signed during their 27-hour "Stand for Freedom" will find their way to the president's desk.
At 6 p.m., eight hours into the stand, the demonstration had generated about 450 signatures.
"International Justice Mission is going to take them directly to President Obama's office and work with him to facilitate a plan," Hawe said, adding that the organization delivered 73,000 signatures to Obama last year.
Following the demonstration, Hawe said the group will look for new ways to bring human exploitation to light, and may get involved with other organizations on campus as well.
"We want to focus on human exploitation and give students an opportunity to be active on campus," she said.
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