Student activist fights against human trafficking

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Courtney Hudson, a junior sociology major, plans to eventually join the Peace Corps and travel the world to spread awareness about human trafficking. Photo courtesy of Courtney Hudson.

It took hearing just one startling fact to make Courtney Hudson want to get involved as an activist.

A 9-month-old baby had acquired an indentation on the head because of constantly being laid on its back in order to be used for oral sex. This infant was the youngest sex trafficking victim in America.

After hearing about that case, the junior sociology major decided to get involved in spreading awareness about human trafficking in America and helping put a stop to it.

“A lot of people do not know that human trafficking is happening in our very own country,” Hudson said.

Hudson heard about the organization Stop Trafficking of Persons during her first year at Chico State. After a professor came into her class to speak about the group, Hudson signed up to be a member.

“I’ve always been an activist for inequalities in our society,” Hudson said.

In her sophomore year, she became secretary of the organization and then moved up and became the president this year.

She schedules tabling for the organization, plans the weekly meetings and follows up with all nine officers in the organization, Hudson said.

“I’ve done a bunch of research about human trafficking in America,” she said. “I’ve read some terrible things, but I am able to deal with it.”

Hudson also works closely with some of the guest speakers the organization has had come to campus.

One of the speakers in particular stood out to Hudson. Her name was Shamere McKenzie, a college student who was taken from her campus and put into sex trafficking.

“One of our speakers (McKenzie) was a survivor of being abducted off of her college campus in New York,” Hudson said. “The way she told her story puts a face to how it is happening here in our very own country.”

Since being in the organization she sees how important it is to spread awareness about human trafficking. This coming summer she will travel to Moshi, Tanzania, for three weeks.

Hudson will volunteer and teach English to students and educate them on how to protect themselves from being sexually assaulted, she said.

“After I get back I’m going to volunteer for the Peace Corps,” Hudson said. “It is competitive to get into the program. So I need to gain experience in order to get in.”

During the summer, Hudson also plans on getting an internship in Austin, Texas, with Allies Against Slavery.

“When it comes to nonprofits, the process of getting in is fast-paced,” Hudson said. “I would be living there until July.”

In order to pay for her trip to Africa, Hudson applied for awards, gathered donations and raised about $8,000.

Hudson has always been an advocate for equal rights, she said. She was raised to be selfless and do jobs for others.

“I want people to know that the issue of human trafficking is one that affects us directly and indirectly,” Hudson said. “It is important in our society today to stand up against the inequalities that we are seeing, especially in our country.”

DJ Morris can be reached at [email protected] or @djthejournalist on Twitter.