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Action for Social Justice Students Advocate at State House for Sex Trafficking Prevention Bill

April 26, 2016

The class title is Action for Social Justice and that's exactly what the students of this class were doing at the Massachusetts State House last week when they carried out their activist campaign in favor of a state bill to strengthen the current anti-human trafficking law.

With a life-sized pink doll box and signs and placards, the group of eight students positioned themselves at the foot of the capitol building steps to be most visible and raise awareness about the issue. The students also met with members of the state legislature in the hopes of influencing the bill's movement from the Senate Ways and Means Committee for a vote.

"If this bill (S872) passes, there will be additional safe houses, a clearing house, education for victims, survivors and the general public," said Amro Baeshen, a student in the class. "Timing is so important because [funding for the bill] has to be added to the state budget."

According to Betsy Leondar-Wright, assistant professor of Sociology, who teaches the course, students are asked to pick an issues, set a goal, design an activist campaign and carry it out in one semester.

"My job is to be a resource by teaching them historical examples of successful small-group activism and the skills of organizing, lobbying and media relations," she said.

The group will also present at the Spring Connected Learning Symposium, has named their effort LAST 872 (Lasell Against Sex Trafficking) and has created a facebook page.

"I'm very proud of what these students have accomplished," said Leondar-Wright.