Amid the beauty and history of Charleston, South Carolina, a group of LEAD Scholars spent Spring Break working to change the vicious cycle of human trafficking.

Nine students were chosen to attend the Alternative Break Program trip: Julie Deslauriers, David Dill, Clarence Emile, Casey Field, Meghan Ginn, Yejide Giwa, Amy Maitner, Karen Rodriguez and Maya Rose.

Junior finance major Casey Field acted as student coordinator for the trip after going to Guatemala with the Alternative Break Program last year. This year she chose the social issue, destination, volunteer events and travel arrangements. She also organized fundraisers and educational discussions to inform the team before the trip.

“We got to see the first slave mart in Charleston and the brothel across the street, something that seemed so historic but presented an image of the 38.5 billion people still trapped in slavery,”

Field said. Field said the real issue in Charleston wasn’t just the trafficking. “The issue is children growing up in broken households, children that lack confidence, and children that lack mentors,” she explained. To help with this, they worked with a military-base youth camp as well.

“When we asked what we could do to help, one of the main responses was that we need to start tackling insecurities with children early in life, so we made sure to encourage all of the children we worked with,” said graduate assistant for the LEAD Scholars Academy, Whitney Watkins, who served as an advisor to the trip.

The participants also created something to bring home from the trip: a video that encourages others to stand up and end slavery. It can be watched here: