Clothing drive to help sexually abused women

Students Against Sex Slavery (S.A.S.S.) has set out to collect clothes for previously trafficked women.

The clothing drive began Oct. 13 and will end Oct. 31. Kris Gay, one of the leaders of the campus ministry, said that last year the ministry visited Partners Against Trafficking Humans, the only home for victims of sex slavery in Arkansas, for a missions trip and saw thousands of articles of clothing.

The students who went on the trip spent nine hours sorting the clothes, Gay said.

She explained that the ministry’s leadership didn’t think the home would run out of clothing any time soon.

However, this year, on the home’s Facebook page, they saw the organization was in need of clothes, Gay said.

This is a good sign since the women are taking advantage of what the organization has to offer, Gay said.

The John Brown University ministry decided that since they plan to return for another mission trip in November, now is a great time for JBU to collect some of the clothes that the home would need, Gay said.

Ministry co-leader Brittany Ashby emphasized that these clothes are very important to the women.

When they were trafficked, the women wore revealing clothing, which was designed to sell them by making them attractive to buyers, Ashby said. The clothes they were given to wear never represented who they were as people.

Now they will get to pick out clothes for themselves, Ashby said.

Gay said she and others are surprised by the support thus far.

“It is hard to tell how everyone will respond,” she said.

On Oct. 16 they had five trash bags of clothing, this is only three days after beginning the clothing drive. Some of the clothes were brand new and still had price tags attached.

Gay attributed much of their success to their advertising campaigns. The ministry has hung posters all over campus, posted an advertisement on Eaglenet and published in the Here and Now.

Their early success cannot be attributed to only advertisements, however, because this is all fairly recent, Gay explained.

The posters were not put up until the night before the drive started and the Here & Now actually came out after the drive started, Gay said.

Ashby stated there was no specific goal for the amount of clothes, but “the more the merrier.”

Gay said they still need clothes in all sizes. Despite the fact that all the clothes are for women, they can still use men’s shirts. She reminded people that this is a clothing drive, since she has found nail polish and old towels in the bins.

Gay said it is a great way to clean out a closet and make space for winter clothing. She also said she hopes people brought back clothes from home since the drive continued after Fall Break.