by Junelly Gonzalez
UNICEF hosted their first ever Unmasking the Truth to Find Human Trafficking Masquerade Ball on Friday, January 31 at the House of St Benedict. A part of UNICEF’s efforts to bring awareness about human trafficking, they had an event everyday of the week to bring forth crucial awareness about the issue to the students and faculty at Benedictine University, as well as the Naperville and Lisle area.
“This ball was a great way to end the week off. Since we have never really had a good turnout with residents on campus, we thought the House of Benedict was a perfect venue for this event so that people walking by could stop in,” said Sree Bodepudi, President of BenU UNICEF.
There was a deeper meaning behind the UNICEF ball being mascaraed themed.
“We were trying to unmask the truth of human trafficking. A lot of people aren’t aware of what is going on with human trafficking. So, this entire week was leading up to this event,” said Lauren Nimry, PR Specialist for UNICEF.
Attendees had a chance to learn all throughout the week about human trafficking at UNICEF’s events at Benedictine University.
“When people walk around the room they could learn a little more about human trafficking. At the end of the night there will be a message detailing why you’re here and what you are doing to help spread awareness and to celebrate the accomplishments of the week,” said Bodepudi.
UNICEF hoped to spread the message that it takes the power of students and faculty to spread awareness to end an issue such as human trafficking.
“Part of the reason that happens is because the civilians are not really aware of it. People aren’t aware that it occurs in every single state and even in Naperville and Lisle. In the United States it’s a lot of sex trafficking and across the world it’s a lot of labor trafficking, merchant trafficking, and sex trafficking,” said Nimry.
BenU UNICEF hopes their community will act out the information they have learned at the ball.
“If we put that reasonability onto civilians’ hands and let them know this issue is happening they are more likely to act and even more likely to recognize it and report it, than if that awareness isn’t there,” said Bodepudi.
The ball hosted various games and entertainment throughout the night.
“One station we have is for advocacy. This station is definitely our big station, you can sign a petition to ask our congressmen to support local legislation and have more strict enforcement. UNICEF really appreciates this activity because it is great way to act locally and make national impact. We can ask congressman to take a stand. We also have wall mural so people can draw hands to show they support the movement and that together we can do something to end this. We are having fun as well, we have a selfie/photoboth station where people can take photos and we also have face painting and mask station where people can get their face painted,” said Bodepudi.
BenU UNICEF was pleased with the outcome of the ball.
“Today we are doing well. I am so happy this many people came out, we weren’t expecting this many people and the point is to spread awareness. The more people that show up, the more those people can tell other people. So by spreading awareness you can’t turn your face and say you didn’t know,” said Nimry.