Erin Regan guest spoke during the chapel service on March 12, 2014, with the goal of getting Wilson students involved in the fight against modern day slavery. A Contemporary Worship and Youth Minister from Central Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg, Erin is a member of a local advocacy group named Compassionate Humans Against Trafficking (CHAT). CHAT is a group of Christian abolitionists who are fighting for the justice of the Kingdom of God.
“We believe that it is our responsibility as children of God to fight for the freedom of our brothers and sisters being held captive in the world today,” says Regan.
CHAT was formed this past summer not only because human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world today, but it also affects eighty-two percent of the world
– including Franklin County. CHAT meets monthly and has already achieved much since its creation. The group sold jewelry for Destiny Rescue during Chambersburg’s Ice Fest, posted awareness signs all over Franklin County, and held a human trafficking awareness youth rally. CHAT members made a year-long commitment starting this past January to write the National Football League (NFL) once a month to ask for support against human trafficking. They seek the NFL’s support because a lot of human trafficking goes unnoticed during the time that the Super Bowl occurs each year.
Advocacy for ending human trafficking and supporting the victims has been a part of Erin’s life long before CHAT was organized. For the past eight years, her family has been organizing and running a benefit concert annually in Delaware.
“I decided that it was time for Chambersburg to be involved,” says Regan.
While working with Regan, Central Presbyterian Church has also made human trafficking their outward mission focus. When other church members decided to support this new endeavor they started CHAT to raise awareness and fight for the end of human trafficking locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.
More than fifteen thousand people are trafficked into the U.S. from countries abroad and ninety-five percent are subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Eighty-two percent of runaways are forced into prostitution, with thirteen year olds being the majority of victims. Ninety-eight percent of prostitutes are victims of trafficking. Since this type of slavery is more prevalent in America than people realize, Erin and members of CHAT want students to be aware of the issue.
“Students are vital to this fight, you have influence socially, politically, academically, professionally, and spiritually,” says Regan.
Reverend Rosie Magee agrees with Regan. “This modern day slavery, the buying and selling of human beings, is like a pervasive cancer spreading throughout the world. It is shocking to think it takes place here in Franklin County. We hope to continue to raise awareness on campus through the work of Shared Hope International, which is working to eradicate sex trafficking through prevention, restoration, and legislative action. Wilson Community members are welcome to become actively involved,” says Magee.
If you are interested in becoming involved there are several ways to participate. Join CHAT, donate to an organization, host an awareness event, contact local politicians and request stricter legislation or start a club to educate others. Erin also suggests that people be proactive by refusing to participate in the dehumanization of human beings. She asks others to become educated about trafficking and to contact local authorities if the activity is suspected. For information on CHAT contact Erin Regan at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you suspect human trafficking call 888-3737-888 or text BEFREE.