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Every year, hundreds of thousands of victims are human trafficked in the U.S. It is real and rampant in Greenville, SC. Human trafficking is a crime that exploits mostly women (and also men); it violates human rights via forced labor or sexual exploitation. Living in a world where trafficking is happening, but is often hidden, can be scary, especially for women. 

I work at the local Haywood Mall in Greenville, SC, and I have heard of many cases from friends and acquaintances of trafficking right in the very parking lot where I park all the time. I have trained myself to always be on guard, always have my keys between my fingers to use as a weapon, look under my car before getting in the driver’s seat, and immediately lock my doors. If I am heading to my car in the nighttime, I make sure to have someone on the phone with me until I am safe in my vehicle. These are the realities of being a vulnerable woman in today’s world. 

I have always been passionate about the fight to end human trafficking, but as a working college student, I never thought there was anything I could actually do to make a difference until I met Anastasia Matias. I interviewed Anastasia, a self-made entrepreneur, in order to find out more on how she created Person Not Possession. Person Not Possession is a clothing brand that helps spread awareness on human trafficking in Greenville, SC. At only 19 years old and a junior in college, Anastasia was able to start a company from scratch in order to help end the fight on human trafficking. Anastasia is a young female college student just like me, and she started her company without any help, resources, or experience. All she had was a vision and determination that led her successfully to where she is today. Along the way, she had to learn how to run social media websites, use a camera, edit photos, recruit people and models, and calculate the proceeds to donate to a charity that helps the fight against human trafficking. 

I was truly inspired by Anastasia’s passion and dedication for Person Not Possession. It showed me that I can accomplish so much more than I give myself credit for if I have the right mindset and heart to do so. Not only is her mission to help human trafficking victims honorable and significant, she also spends her days doing what she loves: designing cute apparel, planning photo shoots, and running social media. She not only enjoys her job, but she is also making a difference in the world. 
If you would like to check out Anastasia’s apparel you can visit her Instagram handle Person not Possession. If you ever have any information on human trafficking activities, you can call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Lucy Cruz

Furman '22

I am a female Senior Communication Studies, Media Studies major at Furman University. I am passionate about body positivity and self-love in this photoshopped world. I am also an advocate for the fight against human trafficking. My roots are in Mexico and TX, but I am living in Upstate SC.
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