In an attempt to educate a greater portion of the Georgetown community on the issue of human trafficking, Students Stopping the Trafficking of People began a campaign this semester that centers on such simple yet provocative phrases as “Chocolate is Good, Slavery is Bad,” to stimulate awareness and discussion on campus.

On the morning of Feb. 11, however, a very disturbing incident occurred. Someone switched the sign in Red Square so that it read “Chocolate is Bad, Slavery is Good.”

It would appear that the person or persons who switched the sign did so intentionally, as it was placed quite high and someone would have probably had to drag a heavy bench over to switch the signs.

This is unacceptable.

Slavery is not a joke. As many as eight-hundred thousand humans are trafficked around the world each year. Some are forced to have sex with dozens of customers every day or forced to work with no rest, food or compensation. To joke about the conditions that these people live in every day and the conditions that millions of slaves faced on plantations hundreds of years ago is downright abominable. Everyone on this campus should be ashamed of this incident – it is shocking that something like this can happen at an institution known for Jesuit ideals.

One student, Obehi Utubor (SFS ’09) has filed a bias-related incident report and posted a picture of the switched sign on Facebook. We thank the student who chose to be proactive in responding to this issue.

This must be seen as an opportunity to unite and educate others. There is something profoundly wrong with such an act of vandalism and we must work to ensure that such ignorance and disrespect does not go unnoticed. We now ask all groups on campus to join in solidarity with us and show whoever switched the signs that it is unacceptable, and we will not tolerate such ignorance on this campus.

Sabrina Karim

Co-Founder, SSTOP

Anne Sharp

President, SSTOP

Feb. 12, 2007

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