COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This year is the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
In conjunction with the anniversary, a Midlands High School has been chosen as one of three schools nationwide to help launch a new campaign.
Westwood High School is participating in a campaign called Globalize 13. One of the classes completed a project last year on modern day slavery, known now as human trafficking.
English teacher Stacey Plotner organized the project and contacted the Frederick Douglas Family Initiatives. Westwood students met Ken Morris, who is a descendant of Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington.Plotner says he talked via Skype with the students, inspiring them to make a difference. He urged them to do use modern tools to call attention to human trafficking.
Since Westwood is a project-based school, the students accepted the challenge.
"We made public service announcements, they made documentaries, collages and digital montages, all kinds of things they could use social media to tweet out, share on their facebook page, to really get the message out not just to the school but to the community as well," Plotner said.
One student created a PSA that has been viewed internationally.
"Its about one minute and I think that it just captures emotion, its very short facts but strong facts also, right now it actually has 66,000 views and I hope it is eventually on TV to promote more awareness," said 11th-grader London Allen.
"Before I took the class I had no idea," said 12th-grader Lauren Drescher. "When I thought of slavery I thought of the 1800's and I think that it is so important that people are aware that here in the United States and here in Richland County, people are being taken. People are being sold into sex trafficking and used for forced labor and that is not okay."
Plotner said the work students have done surrounding human trafficking has inspired some to want to be civil rights attorneys or to work in social advocacy. Some are volunteering for Lighthouse for Life, a non-profit organization seeking to combat sex trafficking through education.