Oklahoma Christian Modern Abolitionists is holding a silent auction in the Gaylord University Center this week to raise awareness of fair trade and ethical products.
Modern Abolitionists is an anti-human-trafficking group that was founded almost 10 years ago. The group works with non-profit organizations in the Oklahoma City area and around the country.
“It was started to raise awareness on the tragedy that is human trafficking and sex trafficking,” junior Dylan Schouppe said. “College students specifically can have a lot of influence in this area. Unfortunately, people don’t have a lot of awareness.”
The club is holding the silent auction to help raise student awareness of these issues.
“The biggest goal is to raise awareness of fair trade and ethically made profits,” Schouppe said. “One of the things people know, but don’t really accept, is that most of the clothing people wear was made by slaves. It was made by people who were either forced to work, or they weren’t paid fair wages.”
The auction features fair-trade items that where ethically produced in ways that benefit the workers.
“We want to raise awareness of using your consumer buying power to affect change,” Schouppe said. “If people are willing to be more purposeful and have higher expectorations from brands and companies then those brands and companies will answer to the consumer.”
The silent auction was supported by several brands that have already committed to producing ethical goods.
“Whole Foods Market was our biggest donor for this,” Schouppe said. “Crochet Kids international was another big donor. They employ women in Uganda and Peru, pay them living wages, provide education and mentorship and every product they make is signed by the women who made it.”
While the auction is raising money, the main focus is on bringing attention to the ethical issues of human trafficking.
“Yes, we’re raising money and the money goes to helping our cause, but it’s more raising awareness of fair trade,” Schouppe said.
Many students have stopped by the auction table in the student center throughout the week.
“I made a bid on the chocolate and coffee,” freshman Ken Ganza said. “It all looked really cool. I’m going to try to find out more about the cause.”
The silent auction concludes at 4 p.m. today.