While a student at Ohio Wesleyan, Thornton traveled to India for two months through a Theory to Practice Grant where she witnessed first hand the effects of international human trafficking with the International Justice Mission (IJM). The links don’t work and see no need to link Theory to Practice Grant.
An Ohio Wesleyan graduate from the class of 2015, Kelsey Thornton has developed a strong connection in the fight against everyday slavery.
Kelsey Thornton, an intern at Delaware United Way and an Ohio Wesleyan Alum.
Photo via Facebook
David Eastman and Naomi Abrams ’14 inspired Thornton. Abrams previously worked for IJM in Bangalore, India and Thornton and friends wrote a grant to visit her to learn about her work. But Thornton ended up proposing a grant herself because all of the people in the group were unable to coordinate a visit.
With the help of Professor Eastman and assistant chaplain Lisa Ho, Thornton proposed an individual grant that would include travel to visit IJM in Kolkata to focus on the issue of sex trafficking and IJM in Bangalore to focus on labor trafficking for one month.
Bangalore rejected Thornton’s proposal due to availability of resources and time to host a student for a month long visit.
Instead, Thornton lived and worked in Kolkata for two months in a Red Light District with an organization called Sari Bari. This ‘freedom business’ allow formerly enslaved women to embrace a new chance in life through a safe clothing company. The company hires survivors and creates a safe, stable and reliable work environment offering resources and fair wages.
Thornton advises others to participate and shop in secondhand stores and become properly educated - know where and how it exists. By shopping at secondhand stores, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army that are nonprofits allow communities to help individuals earn a living, improve their lives and overall strengthen communities.
“Finding trafficking isn’t just about finding them and pulling them out. We have to do something on prevention and aftercare, it's like changing culture … ” Thornton said. “[Human trafficking] is a system, it’s a cycle.”
Thornton presented at the local downtown Delaware shop, Honey and Abernathy in February 2017. The store was featuring a clothing line, Sudara, a clothing company that benefits women who are freed from traffickers. Thornton’s presentation provided an international overview, domestic and local overviews of human trafficking victims.
“Delaware is being effective ... just because people don’t see it or hear it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” Thornton said.