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A few weeks ago, young women sat on the University of Northwestern–St. Paul’s campus green holding a sign that read, “The sex industry is futile. Be intimate with Jesus.” Many students observed, but few knew the meaning behind it. Was it a protest? Who were those girls? What were they trying to say?

Antonia Fritz, a senior pre-med biology major, was one of the women who shared this message with the UNW community. Over the summer, Fritz researched the impact of sex trafficking, how it connects with the rest of the world and discovered that the sex industry is alive and active across the United States. Fritz says, “We might be supporting this big monster of a sex-obsessed society that leads to these types of life-threatening things, like buying and selling human beings.”

She continues, “And essentially when I made that poster, I was thinking about how we might not have anyone actually involved in sex trafficking here on campus… But the thing that does happen here on campus is there are porn addictions, there’s sexual impulses, addictions…[and] we don’t often think about how those are the gateway into these even more life-threatening situations.”

Angelica Bare, a junior art and design major and roommate of Fritz, chimes in: “It wasn’t a protest. It wasn’t a planned thing. It wasn’t some big thing that we’ve been thinking about for a long time.” It was simply Fritz feeling called to do something and Bare supporting her.

To these women of faith, the bottom line is that people are seeking intimacy but “they’re going about it in this twisted sort of way,” says Bare. She continues, “Be intimate with Jesus, because in that you’re going to have the solution for all things.” When it comes to “being intimate with Jesus,” these roommates believe in daily time spent with the Lord and letting him be the one they run to and are filled by.

With passion in her eyes, Fritz explains that this wasn’t as much about raising awareness as it was to “spark” something for those who saw her handmade sign, to reevaluate their relationship with the Lord and to draw out sexual desires that may be hindering true intimacy with Jesus.

It can be challenging to navigate this “monster” of a topic, so where does one start? Fritz urges the significance of inner healing and to “put sexual addictions or impulses at the foot of Jesus.” She encourages fostering healthy intimacy with both males and females alike.

What can the UNW community do? Bare believes that it starts with each person’s strengths or gifts. She has a vision of people writing research papers, doing photography series, crafting a spoken word or creating an art gallery. She can see biology students “volunteering at hospitals or places that are taking care of these [people] in sex trafficking” and business students working on start-ups that support trafficked victims.

Many of the organizations that fight this evil are not highly funded and need volunteers. UNW students can share their intelligence and be a part of the solution. Fritz would like to see more connections between UNW and these sorts of organizations as well as increased involvement in school-wide volunteer events at pro-life woman’s help centers and family crisis centers. Fritz also supports group therapy counseling here on campus for those who are actively struggling with sexual impulse addiction and need a safe place to heal. Intimacy starts and ends with Jesus.