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Midvale Journal

Backyard Broadcast students find platform to stop child slavery

Apr 09, 2018 11:59AM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest High Backyard Broadcast students attended a recent Sundance Film Festival documentary in support of stopping child slavery. (Jordan Hulet/Hillcrest High School)

As a young man, Kailash Satyarthi promised himself that he would end child slavery. 

In a recent Sundance film, bearing his name, about 20 Hillcrest High students who are members of Backyard Broadcast supported his story by pledging to buy products that are child-labor free, said club adviser Jordan Hulet.

“It made us aware that we can learn more and do more here in Midvale and around the world,” she said after students discussed the film and what they could do to advocate for child laborers.

Hillcrest students, joined by other Backyard Broadcast students from seven other high schools in the area, saw the film at a special screening that also included talk about human trafficking and the focus on finding a solution to the problem, said junior Emily Langie, who started the Backyard Broadcast chapter on campus.

“We want to make people aware of the issue so they can fully understand it,” she said. “In the U.S., there are 100,000 children being trafficked and being forced into child labor or sex trafficking. Child trafficking is so much easier to transport across borders in our modern world; it’s become modern day slavery.”

Emily first learned about Backyard Broadcast from national director Terri Palmer last year. 

“The idea of Backyard Broadcast is to encourage high school students to raise awareness of child sex trafficking and child labor,” Palmer said. “Students are learning the issues, leading clubs and speaking out — and people are listening.”

Emily met with administrators and found a teacher to advise the Hillcrest Backyard Broadcast students last spring. 

“When I learned about it, I wanted to do more and asked how I can help. We can advocate, we can make people more aware starting here at Hillcrest. Not all the students here understand the gravity of it,” she said, adding that she would like a career involving humanitarian work. 

When last year’s adviser moved, Hulet stepped up to advise the 30 students.

“Emily is so passionate and wants to make a difference and help people her own age. She made me realize I could do more,” she said. 

Hulet said that she learned slavery didn’t end, but just found a new face.

“It’s as prevalent as ever; it just looks different. Children are usually being forced to be laborers,” she said.

With social media and awareness campaigns, Backyard Broadcast is educating their peers through distributing plastic band bracelets with contact information in case someone needs help as well as fundraise to provide survivor baskets for those who have been mistreated.

“I’m passionate about advocating for these people and making a difference. It’s something I’m passionate about,” Emily said. “Education is the most important tool. We can work to make a change.”