Learning About Today’s Evil: Human Trafficking

Marissa_B_Name: Marissa Buffo
Home University: Indiana University
Summer Session 1 Course: Human Trafficking in a Global Context
Summer Session 2 Course: Emerging Markets

I chose to take Human Trafficking in a Global Context because of my law and public policy minor, but also because I knew nothing about the ‘business’ that moved millions people and billions of dollars all over the world. And wow; this class has opened my eyes to the everyday evil that takes place just under our noses and in our own backyards. It is a scary thought, but human trafficking affects nearly every product, economy, country, and society so it is important to understand what (if anything) can be done as a global citizen to assist and identify victims. This class has made me much more aware of the global effort to take down organized crime and individuals looking to capitalize on modern day slavery. I have also been motivated to look further into different brands/companies and check out what they do to try and remove human trafficking from their supply chain.

The class started by defining what trafficking is and how different governments identify and handle victims. As the class progressed, we looked into how the media is misleading when it comes to trafficking and what different U.S. states did differently in terms of preparing law enforcement to handle trafficking. We also spent a lot of time debating the best ways countries were handling trafficking victims and whether or not legalizing prostitution helped law enforcement identify and help victims. In the last week of class, we went on a tour of Copenhagen’s red light district during the day and were able to see how the legalization of prostitution has impacted the neighborhood.

There is plenty of opportunity to speak up, ask questions, and offer opinions, especially with all of the hands-on work with debates and presentations. Some of my classmates are very knowledgeable about human trafficking and have taken classes at their home universities and their experience is incredibly interesting for me and other classmates with no prior exposure. My instructor, Anne, has a lot of experience working in the legal system and with NGOs in the area of human trafficking and her stories bring a level of reality to our class that you just can’t get from movies or the news. Her passion for the subject and our location in Copenhagen has shaped the class in a way that brings more interactive components compared to classes in this subject back in the U.S.

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