Freedom Fighters work to raise human trafficking awareness 


Maggie Willard

OU-based organization Freedom Fighters hosts an event to discuss career paths for helping victims and survivors of human trafficking on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Lauren Reid, Content Editor

Freedom Fighters 6.12, an Oakland University-based organization raising awareness on human trafficking, held an event Wednesday, Feb. 6 to discuss potential career paths in combatting this matter. Board members Melinda Movius, Parker Nevicato and Abishek Bagare discussed various careers that work to help survivors and recognize victims of human trafficking, such as jobs with nonprofit agencies and organizations, legal professions, federal government agencies and law enforcement. 

“Our group exists to raise awareness about human trafficking among the student body and help at-risk or trafficked individuals by supporting local anti-human trafficking organizations,” said Movius, who is currently serving as the organization’s president. 

A few local nonprofits were brought up during the presentation, including the Michigan Abolitionist Project which works to educate people on human trafficking and encourage them to take action, as well as the Joseph Project that aims to make a difference on the legal end. 

During the event, Movius stressed the idea that regardless of one’s career, it is possible to come across a victim of human trafficking. Learning the signs and staying knowledgeable could be of benefit for anyone. 

“Even communication or graphic design majors are needed by companies to create graphics or videos that spread awareness,” Movius said. “These people could make a world of difference.” 

The importance of specific training to recognize victims of human trafficking was also touched on, especially for law enforcement. According to Nevicato, the organization’s vice president, when law enforcement work through this specified training they score higher on victim identification. Nevicato discussed federal agencies as well and how they often work to provide resources to smaller organizations. 

To conclude the presentation, Movius mentioned that attending awareness events is a great way to “be more educated [on human trafficking] than the average person” and recommended that everyone learn more. 

In regards to the Freedom Fighters 6.12 in general, the organization is currently embarking on a new project. 

“This semester, we are partnering with SOAP Project at OU Day of Kindness (Wednesday, Feb. 12) to make soap bars labeled with the national human trafficking hotline,” Movius said. “We know of so many people [and organizations] who are doing good work and want to support them.” 

These soap bars will be distributed to hotels. 

Raising awareness is a primary goal of the organization, and according to Nevicato, “knowing what to look for but also having the ability to educate people on what to do once they are educated,” is a way that the Freedom Fighters work to accomplish that feat. 

Bagare, the organization’s treasurer, feels that he is making a difference with the Freedom Fighters and mentioned that regardless of his major, “what [he] is doing for the community is what defines [him].” 

OU students interested in being a part of the Freedom Fighters are welcome. For more information, follow the organization’s Instagram, @freedomfighters6.12, or search “Freedom Fighters 6.12” on Engage for a list of upcoming meetings and events.