Students Together Against Trafficking, a Texas State organization, works to raise funds and awareness for victims of human trafficking.
STAT members participate in protests and fundraising events in San Marcos and Austin with nonprofit organizations. Current president Echaka Monjok and former president Deborah Mletzko started the organization in the fall of 2015.
Monjok said many people aren’t aware human trafficking happens all over the United States.
“Human trafficking happens not only in third world countries, but also in the United States,” Monjok said. “Some of the biggest places that it happens is Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.”
One of the main events STAT participates in is the Walk for Freedom in Austin.
“Recently we have done the Walk for Freedom, which is when we walked in Austin in silence in a line and got people to look at us and they would ask questions,” said Gabriela Cepeda, STAT vice president. “We would explain we were doing it for human trafficking.”
The organization hosts protests on campus to raise awareness.
“Last year, and then again this year, we did the End It movement, so we stood on the Quad with signs that had facts about people who were trafficked,” Cepeda said. “We put x’s on people’s hands if they agreed with what we were standing for, and it got people asking a lot of questions.”
Cepeda said STAT is a great organization for those interested in changing people’s lives.
“When a bust happens, a lot of human trafficking victims have absolutely no one to go back to, especially if they’ve been gone for multiple years, and a lot of homes can’t necessarily finance every single person and one of the things we do is raise funds for the homes,” Cepeda said. “You can really change people’s lives.”
Mletzko said one of her favorite parts of STAT was the passionate people involved.
“Echaka is just so passionate, and I’ve been so passionate since I first heard about the issue five or six years ago,” Mletzko said. “It’s amazing to be part of a group that wants to make change and help with injustice for people who can’t speak for themselves.”
STAT meetings are held every other Monday at 5 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center. For more information, contact Echaka Monjok at firstname.lastname@example.org.