CoJMC student starts organization to raise awareness for sex trafficking in Nebraska

CoJMC student starts organization to raise awareness for sex trafficking in Nebraska

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 12:45pm
Maddie Schultz photo by Capitol
Maddie Schultz after participating in the Walk for Freedom march in late April 2018. The march sparked her passion for starting the student-led organization, I’m Not for Sale. Photo courtesy of Maddie Schultz.

by Maddie Keast, senior advertising and public relations major from Harlan, Iowa

You never know what is going to affect you as a young adult. For a local Nebraska woman it was a march that sparked her passion.

In late April 2018, Maddie Schultz and three others students started the I’m Not for Sale student-led organization to shine light on the unnoticed sex trafficking happening in Nebraska. Schultz attended the Walk for Freedom hosted by the local nonprofit organization, I’ve Got a Name, and had the chance to meet with the organization’s director, Paul Yates. That’s when Schultz knew that she needed to pursue her passion for the cause. As a sophomore advertising and public relations major, Schultz was inspired to team up with three other University of Nebraska - Lincoln students to help start the student-led organization raise awareness of human trafficking.

Noelle Pick, one of the students who helped Schultz start the organization, shared her thoughts on working with three of her closest friends to start the organization.

“We are three very different people, but we use our individual strengths to make our campaign and organization the best that it can be,” Pick said. “It has been a very rewarding experience and I am so glad that I am able to share it with people that I am so close with.”

With an advertising and public relations major, Schultz has been able to incorporate her major into the organization and promote it to her peers on campus. Schultz said starting a student organization with her peers has been rewarding because the organization has received endless support from the university community and peers.

“We have received so much positive attention since we’ve started up last year,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to be a part of an organization with such a great cause. The issue of sex-trafficking is devastating to me, and I am here to be a voice and to never stop fighting for justice.”

In the past year, Schultz has brought in local speakers from I’ve Got a Name to share personal stories with others at the Nebraska Union. She has also dedicated other events and fundraisers to the cause. The group has also paired up with two local businesses, Chipotle and Yogurtini, where half of the proceeds from a specific night go towards the cause. Events held off campus are essential to their mission as it gets the community involved.

“We strive to shine a light on an issue currently in the darkness by being advocates for those who are victims of modern-day slavery,” Schultz said.

Because the events and fundraisers last year were successful, Schultz and her team are creating new opportunities for students involved. They hope to bring interested students to a self-defense class which may help them become more self-aware of their surroundings.

To find more information and how to get involved with the organization, follow their Instagram @imnotforsale_ne.