MTV’s College Network Launches the “Against Our Will Challenge” with LexisNexis, Calling on Students to Imagine Innovative Digital Tools Combating Human Trafficking
mtvU Also Announces Winners of the “Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge” and Premieres New Segment with Student Activist
New York, NY – January 31, 2012 – mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, today launched new on-air and digital programs – as part of its “mtvU Against Our Will Campaign” – that empower students to fight modern-day slavery in the U.S., including the $10,000 “Against Our Will Challenge,” in cooperation with LexisNexis® Legal & Professional, and an in-depth interview with a student activist from Baltimore. Additionally, the network announced Georgia Southern University as the winner of its “Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge,” which concluded at the end of 2011.
The new “Against Our Will Challenge,” featuring a $10,000 prize furnished by LexisNexis Legal & Professional, calls on college students nationwide to imagine innovative digital tools that raise awareness of modern-day slavery, while encouraging action to help stop the human rights atrocity. The winning individual – or team of up to five people – will be recognized with the $10,000 prize and have the chance to work with mtvU and LexisNexis Legal & Professional to see the idea actualized as a core element of the “mtvU Against Our Will Campaign.” For more information on how to enter the “Against Our Will Challenge,” which could include proposals for games, SMS-based services and social media widgets, among other tools, please visit challenge.againstourwill.org. The “Against Our Will Challenge” is the latest project in a string of successful student-led initiatives at MTV and mtvU, including “My College Dollars,” “Darfur is Dying,” “Pos or Not,” “Debt Ski” and “Draw Your Line,” which have collectively reached more than 3 million users, resulted in more than 15 million game plays and led to nearly half a million actions taken.
The unveiling of the “Against Our Will Challenge” comes on the heels of the completion of the successful “Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge,” which was won by Georgia Southern University. Organized in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and Slavery Footprint, the “Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge” called on students to help stop slavery by using Slavery Footprint’s Free World mobile app to take actions such as checking-in at retail and restaurant locations to alert brands and business owners that they want slave-free products. In the three months of the challenge, more than 170 schools were represented and nearly 15,000 actions were taken. As a reward for the school with the most points, several student participants from Georgia Southern will attend mtvU’s annual college music awards show, the mtvU Woodie Awards.
mtvU is spotlighting the efforts of another student activist from Baltimore, in an in-depth interview currently available on-demand at mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org. In the segment, she discusses the severity of the issue, the local impact of human trafficking and what students can do to help stop modern-day slavery. The interview will premiere on-air to more than 750 college campuses nationwide on mtvU at 1 p.m. ET/PT today, January 31.
mtvU’s new initiatives are part of the “mtvU Against Our Will Campaign,” which, in partnership with Free the Slaves, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) and Polaris Project, taps into the growing student movement to end modern-day slavery. The campaign makes it easy for young people to take action to help stop one of the greatest human rights atrocities of our time. According to The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, incidences of sex and labor trafficking have been reported in all 50 states in the U.S. in the last year.
As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children induced into the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or forced into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced or deceived into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world (source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
The “mtvU Against our Will Campaign” was launched in September 2011 at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting; for more information on the campaign, visit http://www.mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org or mtvU.com.
To report a tip or connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-373-7888.
Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses and via top cable distributors in 700 college communities nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. college students – making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on the campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can’t be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with hundreds of events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit http://www.mtvU.com
About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis® Legal & Professional (http://www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier, LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.
About Free the Slaves
Free the Slaves is one of America’s leading anti-slavery organizations. We liberate slaves in hot spots around the globe, help survivors rebuild their lives, and attack the systems that allow modern slavery to exist. Our research is widely quoted by universities, governments and journalists. Our documentary films and videos about slavery, and news coverage of our innovative efforts to end it, have reached hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. Free the Slaves has student chapters at 16 college campuses across the U.S.
About Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth. For more information, please visit http://www.gems-girls.org/.
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move us closer to a world without slavery. For more information, visit http://www.PolarisProject.org
About Slavery Footprint
Slavery Footprint is the latest project of the California-based non-profit organization that brought to the public the acclaimed documentary "Call + Response" and its subsequent efforts to deepen public awareness of human trafficking and modern day slavery. This new project allows the consumer to visualize how their consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery and provides them with an opportunity to have a deeper conversation with the companies that manufacture the goods they purchased. Based in Oakland, California, Slavery Footprint works to engage individuals, groups, and businesses to build awareness for and create deployable action against forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery. In addition to creating and developing online tools, the organization is also engaged in off-line community education and mobilization programs.
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