Hometown Weekly Special Correspondent
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Though it tends to be a subject many of us avoid in casual conversation, the A5 Club at Medfield High School has made it their goal to get people talking about human trafficking and how to help its victims.
The main goal of A5, which stands for Amilia's Angels, Ambassadors for Anti-Trafficking Awareness, is to raise awareness of the human trafficking that happens every single day. The club works closely with Amilia's Light, an organization the strives to aid victims of sex trafficking and help them improve their lives by providing material support and opportunities.
Angie Jimenez joined the club after being introduced to Amilia's Light. "My neighbor was Michelle Luhrmann, founder of Amilia’s Light,” explained Jimenez. “My older sister was president of A5 her senior year, and I joined that year as a freshman." Like her sister, Jimenez is president of the club.
Connor Adams, a junior, joined the club two years ago while helping a friend with a video project for A5. "She just asked a couple of questions, then she told me that if I wanted to help make a difference, I should start going to meetings on Thursdays, and I have been a part of A5 ever since," says Adams.
Katherine Waters recently joined the club as a freshman. She learned about A5 during club day and decided to give it a try. "My favorite part of being involved with this club is being a part of a group that is very passionate about a big problem going on in life today,” said Waters. “Being able to spread awareness on a very dark issue is very important to me."
In addition to serving as ambassadors, A5 aids Amilia's Light by serving as volunteers for events - most notably for guest speakers’ appearances, the annual Garden Party, and in Amilia’s Light’s work with other non-profit organizations.
The work of A5’s members has impacted not only the lives of those the organization hopes to help, but their own, as well. "I remember one woman who worked for Amelia's Light tell me how heartfelt it made her feel to see young people take up this cause, especially a young man like myself,” reflected Adams. “It was one of those powerful moments in your life that is impossible to forget.”
Adams believes that the importance of the club lies in tackling a problem often neglected in the media. "Victims have no way out, and are even stigmatized once they escape. The mental trauma that victims receive desperately has to be addressed. Sex trafficking is truly a form of modern-day slavery, yet it still does not receive much attention in the media."
It makes this month all the more important.
The A5 Club has worked hard to raise awareness during the month of January. Along with a plethora of posters lining the walls of the high school, the club has been handing out stickers. The blue stickers are printed with the words "HUMANS ARE NOT FOR SALE,” accompanied by "Put An End To Human Trafficking" underneath it. "The stickers are an integral part of how we plan to pursue awareness of these issues in the future,” added Adams. “We hope that the people who take a sticker are motivated to talk about the issue of human trafficking with other people they encounter. The sticker can start so many conversations. It also demonstrates solidarity about how these practices are unacceptable.”
With passionate individuals from organizations like Amilia’s Light and A5 leading the way, Human Trafficking Awareness Month is certainly accomplishing its goals in Medfield.
For further information about Amilia’s Light, A5, and how you can make a difference, visit www.amiliaslight.org.