By Preston Gossett | Reporter
Baylor’s chapter of International Justice Mission will host its annual Threads pop-up thrift shop from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday on Fountain Mall.
The international organization is the largest anti-trafficking organization in the world, and there are over 80 chapters on college campuses in the United States.
Belton sophomore Kamrie Rhoads, president of Baylor’s chapter, said this is the group’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and that last year they exceeded their goal by raising almost $3,000. She said all of the money goes to funding rescue missions and safely removing victims from slave labor situations.
“At its core, Threads exists because the fashion and labor industries are among the highest in trafficking statistics,” Rhoads said. “Basic places like Old Navy and H&M are some of the worst in using slave labor to make clothes, and so the cool thing about Threads is that when you buy clothes second-hand, you know exactly where your money is going.”
Baylor’s chapter partners with local on-campus organizations and Greek life, relying on their donations and support. Aledo sophomore Madi Snow, the Baylor chapter’s vice president for fundraising, said anything not purchased from Threads is donated to local Waco clothing drives and different Mission Waco organizations.
“This event is a way to promote sustainable fashion, and there’s no way to fund slavery by buying your clothes from Threads because they’re all second-hand,” Snow said. “That immediately cuts slave labor out of the supply chain, and the companies that include slave labor in their supply chain, like Nike—and yes we have Nike products at our thrift store—but none of the money is going to Nike, so it’s not perpetuating that cycle. Instead it’s [funding] rescue missions.”
Snow said the organization has freed 45,000 people in the last 20 years, and that they’re protecting 21 million vulnerable people from being trafficked into labor or sex slavery.
“[Our organization] partners with governments that are already in place but just have broken justice systems,” Snow said. “They work to rescue victims of trafficking, try to fix corrupt prosecution processes and then provide aftercare to clients. That’s where all of our money goes.”
Flower Mound sophomore Hannah Yanowitch, vice president of advocacy, said that Threads is important because thrifting is a great avenue to talk about fair trade.
“This event ties fundraising and advocacy together really beautifully,” Yanowitch said. “So many of the companies we know and love are extremely corrupt and traffic in slave labor. This is a great way to remind people that thrifting is a cheap and easy way to make sure that you are buying fair trade clothing.”
Rhoads said that this event is based solely on the generosity of Baylor students donating their clothes and coming back to buy clothes for their friends and other people.
“As soon as I say the word ‘thrifting,’ people are like, ‘You have my attention,’” Rhoads said. “Thrift stores have come back and thrifting is the trendy thing to do, so it’s cool because Threads is thrifting with a purpose and benefits people you’ll never know in a way they’ll never forget.”