Students raise over $100,000 to combat human trafficking

Students%2C+including+Grace+Lauder%2C+Kennedy+Krebs+and+Kyndall+Krebs%2C+bead+bracelets+to+raise+money+against+human+trafficking.+

Photo courtesy of Kyndall Krebs

Students, including Grace Lauder, Kennedy Krebs and Kyndall Krebs, bead bracelets to raise money against human trafficking.

By Lena McEachern, Carlsbad High School - CA

The second largest criminal industry in the world today is not counterfeiting or cargo theft, but instead, the modern-day slavery of human trafficking. 

To combat this international issue, a group of students including sophomores Kyndall Krebs, Grace Lauder and Leana Christoffersen fundraised over $100,000 under the leadership of local mom Amanda Griffiths. The group raised the money by selling bracelets and donated 100% of the proceeds to to Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a nonprofit organization that works to combat human trafficking. 

“I’ve always been a big advocate to shut down the child trafficking rings,” Lauder said. “It was something that I felt very passionate about, and that’s why I got into working with Amanda.”

As an organization, OUR not only rescues children from trafficking operations, but also works with governments to arrest traffickers, provide care to rescued victims, educate people about human trafficking and more. 

“We’re not just helping funding them to get those kids out of those situations, but to also help them with recovery,” Christoffersen said. 

Although the students only initially anticipated raising a few thousand dollars, Griffiths ended up donating an over $100,000 check to OUR on Oct. 24. This unexpected surge of buyers required the group to mass produce bracelets. 

“None of us were prepared for the amount of orders and amount of people that were willing to get involved,” Lauder said. “We were trying to get as many done as possible because we were just overwhelmed by how many incredibly passionate people there were to buy.”

The bracelets, which cost $68 for adults and $32 for children, are 14 karat gold with a blue lapis stone in the middle. The blue in particular represents the international color of human trafficking awareness. The act of making the bracelets themselves provided a productive activity for the students at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 14 karat gold bracelet with a blue lapis stone in the middle comes with a message that reads: “By purchasing this bracelet you have joined the many warriors standing up to fight today’s fastest growing criminal enterprise.” Photo courtesy of Kyndall Krebs.

“It’s a really stressful time for all of us,” Krebs said. “We just really wanted to get involved. It was something fun that we could all do as a group and it was really cool making the bracelets and seeing our product make such a big impact.”

The group spread the word about their fundraising initiative by word of mouth and social media, as Griffith’s Instagram page has over 10,000 followers and supporters could buy bracelets through her direct messages. However, the group is no longer accepting orders at the moment. 

“We don’t have hundreds of people to help bead the bracelets and it takes time to bead each bracelet,” Lauder said. “We’ve stopped officially selling them for now.”

Despite this current hiatus, the group has no plans to stop selling bracelets to fundraise for important causes in the long-term. In addition to selling bracelets to raise funds to combat human trafficking, the group also hopes to sell bracelets for a variety of issues annually.

“We were overwhelmed by how many people wanted to support, and so we’d love to get just as many people and just that amount of energy and passion to go towards other causes,” Lauder said. 

In addition to their own efforts, the group also hopes to encourage others to advocate for an end to human trafficking. 

“You have a voice — use it,” Lauder said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, who you are, where you come from, use that voice to support this big cause.”

This story was originally published on Lancer Link on November 5, 2020.