POSTED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 4:17pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 5:03pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — “We’ve got hot and fresh quality products coming this way,” an LSU student shouts, as he stands in the center of the LSU quad. Dressed in a suit and brandishing a megaphone, he is an auctioneer, selling off students who have fallen prey to human traffickers.
Their mouths have been taped shut. Their hands bound together. Bruises cover their faces. It’s a haunting scene.
“You can own this human life right now for a very low price!” They’re auctioned off, one-by-one, to the highest bidder. “You can do whatever you want to this person, this human being, this person with a family.”
A crowd of students gathers to see what all the fuss is about. That’s exactly what these students want. “This is an issue that isn’t really talked about on the news, but it’s a big issue” says Bobby Borrel.
Borrel is a student in a communications studies class at LSU. Part of the curriculum includes organizing a flash mob every semester. Students pick a topic they’re passionate about and find a way to make others listen. The “Hot and Fresh Auction” that these students are advertising is a demonstration, meant to shed some light on the horrors of human trafficking.
“It could be anyone,” says Tiffany Michel. “It could be anywhere and you could be forced into this industry that is so horrible.”
Human trafficking is the act of forcing or bribing another person to provide a service or labor for someone else. Sometimes, that includes sexual exploitation.
“As a human being, you can’t possibly put yourself in a position where someone could actually do this to another person,” says Borrel. He played a victim in the demonstration, sold for cheap to another student in his class.
“So many people get thrown into it everyday. It’s not the same victims that you would think. It’s not just these fragile, young girls. It is young men. It is older women. It is older men. It’s anyone,” says Michel.
According to The Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2.5 million people are forced into labor at any given time across the world. It’s happening everywhere, including Baton Rouge.
“Baton Rouge and New Orleans are two of the highest [human trafficking cities] in the country,” says Jonathan Cruse with Tigers Against Trafficking.
These students say it’s time to do something about it. “We as human beings, everyone, need to collectively come together,” says Borrel. “Just be more vigilant and put a stop to this.”
It’s a call for change to give victims of human trafficking a fighting chance.
Learn more about human trafficking on the linkes below.