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Human Rights Club Takes Action for Women's History Month

by Isaiah Voss


SLU-Madrid students host events on campus throughout March to support victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking.

When first-time Human Rights Club President Victoria Flores and Vice President Caroline Fields took charge, they knew they wanted this student-led club to be more active, both on campus and in the Madrid community. Flores wanted to "do more instead of saying more" while addressing social issues at SLU-Madrid, especially those related to women's issues and gender-based violence.

Thursdays in Black — a movement started by the World Council of Churches — is one way the Human Rights Club raises awareness about important social issues.  Every Wednesday, club members can be found handing out buttons that remind the SLU-Madrid community to wear black on Thursdays to bring attention to gender-based violence.

"We want to build as much awareness as we can," Flores said.

The Human Rights Club kicked off Women's History Month with a bake sale the first week of March, raising almost 200 euros. All funds will be donated to the local non-profit Fundación Madrina, which provides support to women with children and those who find themselves in vulnerable situations during pregnancy.

Student introduces guest speaker on stage in a filled auditorium at the Madrid Campus. A screen with the words "Human Trafficking. Join the Fight. Unbound Now" is visible.

Human Rights Club president Victoria Flores (right) presents Unbound Now founder Susan Peters (left) in SLU-Madrid’s SIH Auditorium. Photo by Isaiah Voss.

This month, the club invited Unbound Now Founder and Chief Advisor Susan Peters to campus. The organization's mission is to end human trafficking. Peters made a stop at SLU-Madrid during her European tour.

Peters taught a full auditorium of faculty, staff and students how to spot signs of human trafficking that tend to go unnoticed. She shared data on the topic from both Spain and the United States.

"It's something we should talk about because it’s an important issue," Flores said. "As long as we can inform and educate about these uncomfortable topics that's what matters."

After Peter's presentation, club members joined Unbound Now's team to hand out flyers with human trafficking hotlines and resources in Spain.

They ventured to the Lavapiés neighborhood and asked small business owners to place resource information in their store windows.

"We ended up putting up 60 flyers around Lavapiés," Flores said after visiting 20 restaurants and boutiques. "I did not get one 'no.'"

Flores said that sparking small talk with store workers and managers gave way to long conversations. When reflecting on Unbound Now's approach to talking with community members she said she is "more inclined after seeing the success rate of this event."

Moving forward, SLU-Madrid's Human Rights Club plans to continue to serve women with the Thursdays in Black series and thrift sales to fundraise for charities focused on pertinent issues.

Flores also organized "Femicide in Latin America" on March 18 — a talk she prepared in collaboration with SLU-Madrid's Latine Student Union.

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