Clubs hold open-mic event
The Hope Rising and Breaking Chains clubs co-hosted an event to raise awareness. | Courtesy of Bethany Higa
Students gathered in Eagle’s Nest to show off their unique talents and raise support for local and international anti-human trafficking efforts, as well as Japanese enjokousai, on April 11.
A missionally-minded community
Sophomore computer science major and vice president of Hope Rising Hannah Carson reached out to sophomore music performance major and president of Breaking Chains Alyssa Miller to create an event which would invite students to become more informed on the business of enjokousai.
“We decided that this is something we were both passionate about,” Carson said. “We really wanted to just kind of connect and create a community that was more missionally-minded, I guess, that had both a view of [the] local problem of trafficking that's right here in L.A. but with also considering the broad perspective of other countries around the world and the missions aspect that we bring into social justice issues like this.”
Enjokousai involves mostly middle and high school girls who choose to offer services to lonely men for a fee, such as dinner or conversation but not necessarily sexual services. However, these services can often escalate into sexual services, which then trap the girls in the human trafficking industry.
A lack of resources
“I was doing some research and I realized that compared to America, there are no… resources for them, there’s no support. And because the Japanese culture is so community oriented as opposed to American individualism, that takes far more [of] a toll than it would here,” Carson said.
Upon learning of this phenomenon in Japan from Carson, Miller agreed to support the Hope Rising club by joining their forces with her own Breaking Chains club to create an event which invited students to come and learn more about these situations and lack of resources for the girls in these industries.
“I had been wanting to foster just a sense of community within all the clubs at Biola, especially the ones that are seeking to do ministry and those that are seeking social justice and so we really found our common ground in enjokousai and… human trafficking,” Miller said.
Booths and talents
Students trickled in and out throughout the event to visit the booths, and several performed their talents, which included singing, hula dancing and a duet with a trumpet and trombone. Senior intercultural studies major Caroline Gladstone shared two poetry pieces she wrote.
“Inspiration comes from a lot of things but, it’s mostly feeling this stirring of my soul that I can’t not do anything about it ― like I can sit there and feel inspired but you have to do something with it, so I write,” Gladstone said.
Carson and Miller hoped to raise approximately $150 by selling merchandise created and gathered by club members but ultimately raised a little over $160. The money will go towards Colabo, an organization currently working with enjokousai and human trafficking victims in Japan.
“We really believe that is really, really important that we have tangible ways and we don’t necessarily know all the needs so we want to find the people that do know all those needs,” Miller said. “So Hope Rising was very helpful in doing a lot of really good research in finding people that will be doing that for us.”