UWL student protests for two weeks to raise awareness on sex trafficking

With duct tape over their mouths and a sign that reads, “Ask me why I’m wearing this dress,” some UWL students want their campus to be informed on sex trafficking.

For her undergraduate project, sophomore Leah Williams is shedding light on a dark reality.

“This is happening now, there is modern slavery now.”

For the last two weeks, she’s been taking turns with fellow students, standing in freezing temperatures wearing only a dress, in hopes to send the message:

“It’s not a comfortable topic, it’s not something that, I mean these people are in constant pain this is not an easy thing to talk about and so there is a certain level of starkness to a person just wearing a dress in a cold December day.”

There are 54 reported cases of sex trafficking in Wisconsin so far this year, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Worldwide, human trafficking generates about $150 billion a year.

Through a performance on Wednesday, Williams is hoping to put a voice to those numbers.

Williams says it’s her way of educating staff and students on a problem so often kept in the shadows.

“The reason we named it, speak for the voiceless, is because throughout the entire process of the theater performance, we want people to see that when you have a voice, you have a responsibility to speak for those who can’t.”

You can watch the performance at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, in the Frederick Theater in Morris Hall at UWL.

There will be a talk-back session with the actors and community leaders after the performance.

The performance is free and open to the public.

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