January 6th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

College kids vow to end slavery

By Steve Almasy, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)–For the better part of an hour, 42,000 college students stood in the frigid Atlanta night, patiently waiting for a statue illustrating the fight against human trafficking to be illuminated.

They filled the Georgia International Plaza next to the Georgia Dome stadium and stood in the crisp 40 degree air this week staring up at the 100-foot high hand reaching toward the sky. Just a few minutes after midnight, they lit candles and the lights below the statue came on. The students cheered then started to softly sing. A chant of "FREE-DOM! FREE-DOM!" grew momentum.

The event  was one of the final gatherings during the Passion 2012 conference, an annual meeting of 18 to 25 year olds. The students were encouraged to donate money to causes that battle trafficking.

The statue, covered in items made by slaves like clothes, represents many things said the man responsible for coordinating the outreach efforts with the organizations that will receive portions of the more than $2.6 million raised during the four-day conference.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Peter Yanker

    Im a slvae to jerkin off my hairy meatstick. Wanna watch?

    January 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  2. Cee Lo Green

    Im a slave to my doo doo eatin. Please help stop slavery.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  3. Gwyneth Paltrows Doggy Style Nippers

    I just left some doo doo spunk in yo vegetable crispuh.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  4. Lay-Z

    I gotz me a cupa hawnkee slaves dat wipes my butt afta I takes a big smelly doo doo.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  5. ned

    I boughyt a couple of slaves today. 2 nig gers and 1 wetback.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  6. connie cornhole

    You people are stupid buttholes.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  7. Thank you lord...

    Hey, the blonde and brunette in the video still frame are hot!

    January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Klaus

    Does this mean I have to give up my slaves?

    January 8, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  9. Jojaam38

    @Tom,Tom, So what about the 11.5 Million Google gave for the cause of human trafficking? I guess what you're saying is no matter how much is given or achieved nothing is ever going to change? What would happen if everybody in the U.S. did what we did and gave and average of $60? Imagine what the effect would be.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  10. indifference is not an option

    Plus, even if this does only affect a small fraction of those enslaved, how can we srltand idly by and do nothing? Affecting a few lives is much better then affecting none at all. I really do hope you look into these organizations!

    Also, none of this is meant to be insulting or mean, I'm trying to shed light on whet is going on. This is changing peoples lives! If you had heard the stories about these people and how these orgsnizations have changed peoples lives, your heart would be as broken as mine. Many of us are already planning things to help in the future. I sn already planning events fir fundraising at my college campus and plan on going on missions trips to help these victims of slavery and indifference.

    January 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I asked for solid evidence that these kinds of demonstrations have significant effects. You have provided nothing that shows they do.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  11. Really-O?

    This is, without question, a worthy endeavor;however, all involved would be better served if the impetus was simply compassion. What value do the religious overtones and motivations bring to the undertaking?

    January 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • indifference is not an option

      The religious overtones are here because this conference is a Christian one. However, the whole terminology of religion is not the basis of our involvement. It is simply that we noticed an injustice that goes against any humane practices and denies those held captive the grace that God has for them. The people holding these individuals captive have taken away their God-given rights as human beings. Our focus on God has been one of the reasons so many people have been effected. We took the opportunity to not only attend a convention which focussed on glorifying God, but extending a helping hand into the rest of the world as well.

      It is true that God work is powerful ways. I would love to show an example here.
      We heard a story this week about a rescue. An organization focussed on fighting human trafficking sent out a tweet one day requesting that its followers would "please pray for the girls of the -stan nations" (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, etc.). So those who received the tweet prayed. Three days later 11 Uzbekistani girls were rescued from a trafficking opperation in northern Greece. Now, just for some background, numbers this high are practically unheard of as far as rescues in this region are concerned. These girls told their rescuers if their ordeal. Now these rescuers were from the same organization that had sent out this tweet. The girls spoke of how they had prayed to Allah for the month/years of their captivity and nothing had happenned. However, three days before the rescue, the same day people had been prokprted to pray for the girls of the -stan nations, these girls had remembered something their grandmothers had spoken to them about, this God of Europe. A man named Jesus. So they de tided this was their last resort. They prayed "Jesus, if you are real and you are really God, please, save us. The people from this organization discovered and shut down the trafficking opperatoon where they were held captive within three days.

      This is why we focus on God. He works in ways that we would never be able to on our own. These girls now know him and have accepted him into their.lives because he lead their rescuersbto them. Godbworks in great ways!!
      There are countless stories like these. Thisbparticular one J's only an example of how faith in Christ is the key to helping these people with the greatest impact possible.
      Sure, this does not discount the efforts andx accomplishments of other organizations who choose to leave God out of the picture, but our faith and God's direction allow the lives of these people to be touched in a much deeper and meaningful way. Even extending compassion on their captors, many oglf which come to the saving knowledge of Christ when the individuals of these organizations visit them in prison so that their lived might Aldo be saved seas they realize how they can turn their lives around through God's grace

      January 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • rzzzll

      Oh man when will you Jesus freaks ever let up? You have to inject your zombie god into everything don't you?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Really-O?

      @indifference is not an option –

      The fact that you mention "god" twelve times and your post is rife with "religious overtones" indicate that you completely missed my point...and supported it at the same time.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer breaks the chains
    Of slavery to sin
    And sets the captive free

    January 7, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things –
      I prayed that you would stop posting the same inane comment...yet you continue. It seems prayer doesn't work.

      January 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer is the gateway to all Truth
      Truth cannot be prayed away
      Pray without ceasing in 2012
      Prayer changes things

      January 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    MILLIONS TO BE ASSASSINATED FOR THE SAKE OF $$$ LIABILITIES(mk-ultra, chip implants, electroshocks etc. performed on them) AND NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism = terrorism) POLITICAL AGENDA KNOWN AS "YOU ARE NEXT"(financial liabilities are 2 expensive for the government and it is cheaper to get read of you instead) !!! IF YOU WERE TREATED WITH ELECTROSHOCKS OR DRUGS USED FOR WIPING OUT MEMORY(numerous Americans and Europeans were and are) AFTER ENDURING FORCED CHIP IMPLANTS(or to retard individual = how homeless people are produced), YOU ARE SCHEDULED NEXT !!!






    http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against whites per ZIONIST Washington DC and in complete agreement with communist Moscow !!!


    January 7, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  14. Boinking Bill

    The money will probably be used to traffic more people.

    January 7, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  15. Klaus

    I don't like the sounds of this. I much rather prefer having slaves.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  16. Ashley T.

    Thank you cnn for covering our story and helping us to get the word out there!!!

    January 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  17. AGuest9

    The only way to TRULY stop this practice is to bring these jobs back to the United States!

    January 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |


    January 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Freedom Is What Matters

      Even if you do not believe in the Bible, these students took their own time and money to raise awareness for human trafficking. If they were so unintelligent, at least they are compassionate.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Gabriel Jones

      You mean to tell me raising money to end slavery is helping produce 'useless retards'? Wow. How closed minded are you?

      January 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm |


      January 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Mr. Hat

      Or you could read what you just said. You just said college doesn't have the answers and will produce retards.

      January 7, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Oh, and i bet u have the answers doncha butchie?

      January 7, 2012 at 12:37 am |


      January 7, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Amy

      excuse me, but where do you believe the answers are... Just out of curiosity what would your 'intelligent' 'true' answer be for this question? I am not trying to sound rude nor sarcastic, I am really wondering what you believe on this subject.

      January 7, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Quit deluding yourself and lying to others!

      January 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I know that “Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things“ never replies to anyone (rude) but none the less, I am compelled from boredom to ask a few questions. If it suits you praybie, please reply.
      First, are you pulling our legs? I think you are just a troll. But IF you are not then answer these questions regarding your rather unorthodox handle and posts (if you don’t reply, I will assume you are in fact just a troll):

      1. When you say that Atheism in not healthy for children AND other living things, does that mean that children must be present for Atheism to be unhealthy? If there are no children, is Atheism healthy for other living things? Also, is this a mental or physical health issue you are concerned about, and where did you find this information? I assume then that all creatures on all worlds, if they exist, are also adversely affected by Atheism, correct? Even if per chance they worship some other God besides the one you may or may not be referring to. You never actually state that religion is healthy, just prayer. Therefore, can you kindly explain what God is requiring this prayer so that we can all direct our prayers to the correct God?

      2. Prayer changes things

      Ok. The obvious question is what things does it change. Does it change things for the better or for the worse? Are you leading us down a blind alley here? Knowing what things it changes would be useful for those of us not familiar with the inherent value of prayer.

      3. The wonder of God is revealed in the discourse of prayer.

      Ok. By discourse are you claiming that we should all being have a conversation with God? Does God talk to you? If it is so easy, why doesn’t he just have town hall meetings and tell us what he wants, or ask us what we want. Or give us his email address. I prefer texting and email. When you say the “wonder” of god, do you mean you can see him, or feel him or what? I don’t get it. Did he touch you inappropriately? Tell the police, don’t let it go.

      4. Prayer is the life blood of the repentant sinner

      Are you a vampire? I knew there was some dark lord s.h.i.t going on here. Isn’t blood the life blood? How does one convert prayer to blood and then how does that circulate in our bodies exactly? Or do the prayers actually live in our circulatory systems? Now that would be weird. Please let us all know. What if we are not sinners? If I am a sinner and repent, why do I have to keep praying? What is the point of repenting and then having to keep doing the whole friggin’ thing all over again day in and day out?

      5. Prayer really changes things

      When you add “really” to the sentence, does that mean that you weren’t as sure earlier but now you feel more confident in prayer? Did it not “really” change things in your first line? Are you just teasing us? Prayer might just change things…..ok just kidding, it REALLY changes things, just playing around a little, my bad.

      Can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this.

      Oh one last thing, when you say to pray ceaselessly in 2012 umm….are you serious about that? When I am sleeping? When I am fuk'n, when am working… I mean I have to constantly pray? How can I keep my job? Please clarify, this just seems dam unreasonable to me.

      January 7, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Truth is revealed in prayer

      January 7, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ CS ... looks like you got your reply!!! lol

      January 7, 2012 at 5:20 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Yes, that clears things up.

      January 7, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    These sorts of demonstrations of concern always have about as much impact as a fart in a windstorm. It's like kids from wealthy neighborhoods doing 'walks for the homeless' or wetting yourself while wearing dark pants: you get a nice warm feeling, but nobody notices. Or benefits.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • A student there

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, I understand where you're coming from and what you're saying, however, along with this demonstration, the 44,000 students there gave over 3 million dollars to this cause. The money given funded several projects from refurbishing housing centers for victim's or human trafficking, providing education to prevent trafficking, funding several rescue missions, and giving $100,00 to the City of Atlanta to start the first Special Victim's Unit task force. So yea, there is concern for demonstrations and talk when there is no action, but as the program is called "do something now", I'd sat something was done in these last few days.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where did these dollars come from, student? Where did students get the money? And can you substantiate your statistics? I'd like to see sources for these numbers. Can you provide them?

      I don't object to demonstrations. I simply am not convinced they achieve what they set out to do. If this one did, good. I'd like to see some numbers that are verifiable.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • One of the 42,000+

      The article shows the amount given by students at 2.6 million.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Matt Loves Jesus

      I was one of those 44,000 that were there and I waited in line for more than an hour to give. And the line to give was no shorter when I was done. I don't understand why you would just assume that this would be bogus. If you think this is bogus then why don't you do some research instead of just asking people to show you it's true, or better yet why don't you just believe it is true and not be pessimistic about it. Maybe you could even consider coming next year when there won't be 44,000 people, but closer to 80,000! I'm not sure if we will be supporting the same cause but if you attend you will see just how real the people involved are and believe that $3 million + was raised and that it IS going to help enslaved and trafficked people sound the world! Also, we set out to raise $1 million, I'd say we achieved that, even though the students actually raised only about 2.6 of it. A wealthy couple attending the conference donated $0.5 million! Why? Because people ARE real sometimes too and they do want to help. I hope you can find a little optimism in your life and a little hope and just believe the next time you hear that something good is happening. I'll be praying that you do! I apologise if any of this comes off rudely and for more unorganized thoughts.

      January 7, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      People give to causes because it makes them feel good. Can you show any evidence that money raised for this cause has achieved anything? I'd like to see some statistics.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Let Freedom Ring


      In response to your question, here is the link to where the first million dollars is going. Among other things the money will refurbish 12 apartment homes for recovering victims in atlanta, fund 22 rescue operations in India to release forced labor slaves, and provide aftercare for 25 children released from slavery. The money will actually produce change. As one of the 43,000 students that was involved in this conference I can say that the students giving wanted to produce change and do something about an appalling fact that there are more slaves in the world today than in any other time in human history. We decided to do something now. Galations 5:1 says that "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery." We have been transformed to life in Christ and want to release the yoke of slavery on the 27 million people in the world who currently live in bondage. The amount of money we raised is amazing but is not a sign of our greatness, but rather of Christ's. The only way that this could have been done is through Christ's power so to God be the glory!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Just Me

      @Tom, Tom... "People give to causes because it makes them feel good." Is it at all possible that people give to causes to HELP people?

      And you're asking evidence for something that just occurred. Give it a couple months and you'll get all the evidence you need. You keep asking for statistics, but the money was literally just given a day or two ago. Come on now, use your head.

      January 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      People give to causes because it makes them feel good. They get pleasure from the idea that they are helping. Most religious people give because their church demands it and praises them for giving. People rarely give all they have to a cause. Most give only a little and never more than is comfortable. If they were following the commandments of Jesus, that wouldn't be the case.

      As for using my head, that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm doubtful that much will be accomplished to change things for more than a small fraction of those who are enslaved, and that those who are committed to this cause will soon be distracted by another one. And often, such endeavors involve layers of bureaucracy which eat up a large percentage of the money raised.

      I stand by my statement. Most of the rallies and demonstrations do little to effect real change. They are band-aids, not panaceas.

      How much did the "Million Man March" achieve?

      January 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • indifference is not an option

      These organizations are not among the likes of those which"eat up a large percentage of what is raised". These Christian organizations believe in giving the full ammount given towards those whose lives they ar trying to impact. If you look on their sites you can find that nearly every position they offer is self-funded and most of those individuals working for them will never see a paycheck.
      I agree that most people give b/c it is required or makes them feel good. But, in this case, the majority of us at the conference are broke college students who did give all we have to help these people. Others of us are giving our time, as hundreds of those who could/could not give monetary support expressed desire to go out into the world and show God's grace to those who have been so devistatingly denied any by their captors.

      I understand where you are coming from and, to sme degree, i agree..it is the reason I do not find myself giving to nonchristian organizations unless i know all of my money will go durectly to the cause. But this particular case is the exception to the norm.

      I do hope that you look into this further and see for yourself. The dosomethingnow.com website will tell you whet otganizations are involved.

      However, as far as those who gave are conscerned, I think you greatly underestimate the compassion and drive that this generation holds on this issue. We are aware of something going wrong in the world and we recognize that we can do something about it. Not only do we plan on changing the world, we already are!

      January 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • indifference is not an option

      Plus, even if this does only affect a small percentage of those enslaved,how can we stand idly by and do nothing?
      Affecting a few lives is better than affecting none at all. I really do hope you look into these organizations!

      None of this is meant to be insulting or mean, I'm trying to shed light on agar is going on. This is changing peoples lives! If you had heard how these organizations have changed peoples lives with Gods help, then your heart would be as broken as mine over this. Many of us are already planning on how to help in the future. I personally am planning fundrsising events for my college campus and am on the path to going on missions trips and/or interning with organizations involved in freeing these people.

      I have the ability to help, so I am doing just that. That was the theme of this conference.
      "Ignorance is not an excuse, indifference is not an option" its a phrase we have been exemplifying through this conference.

      January 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't 'underestimate' a thing. I'm simply not a naive kid any longer and I don't see that the world is becoming a 'better place' because of demonstrations, chanting, and candlelight vigils. Real change requires far more than a feel-good evening of fellowship and singing Kum Bah Yah and yes, more than just a few million bucks. I have no doubt you believe in your cause. I have little faith that it will amount to anything substantive or long-lasting.

      January 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • indifference is not an option

      Look, I understand where you're coming from. But I am not a naive kid any longer either. I've seen more in my 21 years than most people see in a lifetime. I also understand that no answer I can give will be enough ti satisfy you. You want the total cure, well, what we're fling is the total cure. Its taking off a chunk at s time. There is no panacea. Nothing will completely obliterate this issue st once. Starting something and raiding awareness is the way to start.

      Ss far as our demonstrations and chanting and candlelight vigils are conscerned, they are doing something. They helped get the attention of CNN. CNN got the attention of more people, including yourself. And that is onoe of the reasons we were able yo reach the sum we raised.
      I am sorry that you cannot see how the small beginning of college students gathering to worship their God and raise 1,000,000 dollars to help end slavery turned into a beyond national news story which prompted the attention of millions, the raising of more than 3xs the smmount we set out to raise.
      Ask any if the people this money will go to whether or not this is making a lasting impact.

      As far as your claim that you to bog underestimate this generation, I think your doubt speaks for itself. With all due respect, I wonder how much farther causes like ending slavery's grasp would go if more people actually had faith in those working toward it.

      I do believe in my cause. Just ad much I believe in my generation. Sir, do not get me wring or take this as any disrespect. But we will show you. We WILL prove you wrong. This generation, even if it is only a small percentage of us, hold a burning desire to see Gods name be glorified and bring hope and freedom to as many people as we can possibly reach.

      January 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Jojaam38

      I was there. I gave money. I'm not wealthy. I choose to follow what I say and do believe and that is that Jesus is the only answer.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Stedman Garner

      I wish I could call you by name but it's not posted. I just wanted you to make time to attend next year's Passion Conference and see for yourself that it truly does make a difference. If even one person is freed then it was worth every cent.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh, 21 years, huh? I am 56, honey. I live through the 70s and all the idealism youth had then. Don't bother telling me what you're going to do.

      It won't matter unless you're in a position of power. If you aren't one of the movers and shakers, your convictions will be useless. Get a degree, get some political power, get money, get clout. Then get back to me.

      That's the only way you'll effect REAL change.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.