Kelloggsville High School senior Guadalupe Torres arrived at the Women at Risk International Volunteer Center after school on a recent Monday to help her classmates tag items to sell in the Wyoming-based WAR Chest Boutique. Guadalupe was among several Kelloggsvillle students spending time after school sticking price tags to coffee bags and infant clothing at the nonprofit organization WAR International.
The organization was founded with the mission to unite and educate women and children in areas of human trafficking and sexual slavery. Its reach includes 14 different risks effecting women, including domestic violence, depression, loss, disease, exploitation, and more.
“It makes me feel good because you never know if sometime this could be you or someone in your family,” Guadalupe said.
After learning about issues of human slavery at school, students were eager to lend a hand. Teachers Susan Faulk and Bethany Hardy have taught students about human trafficking and slavery as part of their English curriculum.
Faulk, said she received a huge amount of interest from girls when she invited students to volunteer for an hour once a month. There is a waiting list of students who want to volunteer, and 10 to 13 come regularly.
“A lot of our kids just have a heart for this because they have been educated on it,” Faulk said
Women rescued from trafficking situations are employed in safe houses, creating jewelry, cards, clothing and other times. Their products are sold in the United States, allowing them an alternative way to earn an income. Proceeds from items sold in the WAR Chest Boutique, 4790 44th St. SW, go to the women who made them.
Whitney Salsbury, WAR Volunteer Center intern, said the organization relies heavily on its volunteers. Thirteen-thousand volunteers tagged over 200,000 pieces of product, saving over $170,000 in labor costs last year.
“We couldn’t function without them,” she said.