SHERMAN, TX - Slavery is often thought of as a thing of the past, but the International Labor Organization says today, there's an estimated 27 million slaves in the world.
Modern day slavery comes in many forms, for example, this year UNICEF estimates nearly 2 million children will be sold into the commercial sex trade worldwide.
Today Austin College Students heard a lecture from the International Justice Mission, hoping to join the fight for human rights.
"Many people believe well that was abolished 150 years ago and yet today there are 3 times as many slaves right now in the world than there were throughout the whole 400 year transatlantic slave era." said Andy Hein.
Andy Hein of the International Justice System says it's time to take a stand.
"Is it something we just throw up our hands in despair and then go on with our lives as usual or is there something that we are called to do as Americans to really stand up as people did 150 years ago." Hein said.
"One of the things I realized when I came to college is how fortunate I am, and how unfortunate some people are." said student, Alena Oglesbee.
Several Austin College Students are working to start an IJM chapter at their school to stand up for human rights.
The group works to get justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression.
Hein says these things are happening in our own backyards.
"The reality is that slavery and trafficking happens everywhere, it's not just far away, even in small towns like Sherman where there are truck stops along the freeways." Hein said.
He says American kids in foster care, drop outs, and runaways are in the most danger.
"There's a very short window from when a minor runs away, that within the first 48 hours of them running away they're often picked up by someone who ends up trafficking them." said Hein.
But he says everyone can make a difference, starting with simple everyday decisions.
"We can be an informed consumer because a lot of the goods that we buy are actually made by slaves and we don't know it." Hein said.
"By not contributing to those products you're also helping make a difference in someone else's life." said student, Taylor Crouch.
"Our buying power is huge, if we don't buy a product people aren't going to make that product anymore, and so just kind of realizing where your goods come from and just being a conscious consumer can make a really big impact on the world." said Oglesbee.