Senior seminar class fights human trafficking

Students participate in the human trafficking simulation, which was followed by a presentation from the Black Burn Center for a senior seminar event. Photo courtesy of Lauren Swaney.

“A lot of people have a tendency to view human trafficking as something that only happens in big cities or other countries, but don’t realize that it’s happening right here in Greensburg,” said Lauren Swaney, senior social work major. “It’s something that might affect your friends, family or neighbors and it’s important to be aware of that.”

On April 24, Swaney and the rest of her senior seminar class held an interactive information session on human trafficking. The event, which was accompanied by a presentation from the Blackburn Center, was held in the Greensburg room.

“We hope that students and the community took away that human trafficking can happen to anyone, but it might not always look like a scene from the movie ‘Taken,’” Swaney said. “We hope that those that attend this event will have a better understanding of the experience that victims have, but also are aware of the facts and myths surrounding human trafficking.”

The event was split into two parts. The first activity was a human trafficking simulation where students had to put themselves in the shoes of someone being human trafficked. The choices students made determined if they survived the event or were successfully human trafficked.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Swaney.

“Although the horror of being trafficked is unimaginable, this activity shows a piece of what victims experience, including the difficult choices they must make,” Swaney said.

The second portion of the event was a presentation from the Blackburn Center. The presentation gave attendees a glimpse into the prevalence of trafficking, warning signs and trafficking tactics, Swaney said.

“We’re really grateful for Blackburn Center for helping us put on our event,” said Maryanne White, a senior social work and psychology major also in the senior seminar class. “We hope by working with Blackburn Center that we will educate people, raise awareness about human trafficking and help save lives.”

According to their website, Blackburn Center’s vision is to have a world free from all violence, including domestic and sexual violence. Blackburn Center has a free 24 hotline, 724-836-1122 or 1-888-832-2272, which has a counselor on call.

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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