It's Dressember: Time to be a voice for the voiceless

HS GIN Dressember members sporting dresses and ties on campus in early December. These students are committed to raising awareness about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

HS GIN Dressember members sporting dresses and ties on campus in early December. These students are committed to raising awareness about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

by Geoffrey C., Concordia student and GIN member

It is estimated that more than 40 million people are in modern day slavery at this moment. What can you do to join the fight against it? Participate in Dressember!

What is Dressember?! Dressember is an event and a global movement that raises money to support the work of anti-slavery organizations (two of the most famous organizations that rescue enslaved people and prosecute offenders are the International Justice Mission and A21). For the entire month of December, participants commit to wearing a dress or tie each day.

Why a dress? By wearing a dress every day of the month in protest of the slavery that happens in our world, you are reclaiming the dress as a symbol of empowerment and the rehabilitation of rescued victims. Not comfortable wearing a dress? No problem! We want men to participate in this too, so the organization came up with wearing a tie every day in December as a symbol of support for all the victims of slavery and trafficking around the world.

We, as a GIN group, have worked with Concordia teacher Jen Muir over the past two months to help make Dressember a reality for the Concordia high school. The five of us (Geoffrey Chen, Gayoung Ko, Joanna Tan, Doris Wang, and Isabella Yu) created our GIN group hoping we could both educate high school students about human trafficking and allow them to participate. We held a booth at the Christmas Bazaar for Dressember and managed to raise 9,000 RMB in total, all of which has been donated to the Dressember campaign.  After hanging posters around the school and posting on social media about Dressember, we decided that we wanted to educate the high school student body and led an assembly dedicated to both Dressember and modern-day slavery. What was the point of all this? It all leads up to the month of December, the month of change, where we can actively participate as students by dressing up in either a dress or a tie every Friday to school.

More than 200 million children today are child laborers. They are forced to work endless days in the heat and cold, forced into marriages, and forced into sexual exploitation. Almost half of them are under the age of 10. These children are just like us. They are our age and could have easily born into our privileged lifestyle, but they weren’t, and thus have to suffer the consequences of a life that they did not ask for. So what can wearing a dress or a tie every day of the month of December do to help?

This action sparks a statement in everyday conversation and raises awareness about both the campaign and bigger facts and questions about modern-day slavery. Someone asks you about your dress or tie? Why are you wearing one for 31 days in a row? Tell them that today there are more slaves in the world than at any other moment in history. Tell them about how human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing crime and that there are currently five million child slaves.

You have a voice, a choice in your fashion, and a way to speak up for what is right. Change your clothing and join the fight!

Find out more at https://www.dressember.org/.

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LeeAnne Lavender