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Published on November 10, 2019

Eastern Students Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking for Social Action Day

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Social Work Club held its annual Social Action Day on Nov. 5 to focus on the issue of human trafficking. Throughout the day students from the social work program presented research on the issue, heard from professionals in the field of human trafficking and networked with organizations and individuals who are working to end human trafficking.

This year’s Social Action Day focused on raising awareness of human trafficking, which is not getting the attention that it needs, according to Social Work Professor Eunice Matthews-Armstead. To address the issue, the Social Work’s Program’s staff and students gathered to share statistics, resources and hear from professionals regarding human trafficking.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline,  55 human trafficking cases were  reported in Connecticut in 2018, and 177 contacts were made to the hotline, including phone calls, texts, chats or emails. Eastern student, Le’Nora Stewart ‘22 interviewed two police officers who dealt with cases of human trafficking; the interview was shown to students at social action day.

 Other students presented public service announcements and created interactive quizzes to share statistics on the issue. “The students did an excellent job,” said Social Work Professor Paul Trubey. “For me personally it is rewarding to see students who are committed to learning and action. We were all very proud of them.”

Students and professors also had an opportunity to hear directly from those involved in the field of combating human trafficking during a panel discussion. On the panel was Detective Susan Liuba of the Bloomfield Police Department; Eastern graduate Emily Morse who works in the special unit and response of the Department of Children and Families; Chris Bordini, a social worker who also works in the Department of Children and Families; and Evelyn Lesage a St. Francis Hospital intake worker.

One of the concerns the panelists brought up was the lack of funds needed to carry out their work. Professor Matthews echoed those concerns, urging students to become more informed so programs that combat human trafficking can be adequately funded. “One of the things the police officers said is that they don’t get enough resources, which hasn’t given them the ability to tackle the issue and it is growing in terms of the number of victims,” said Mathews. “We need to bring to light this issue, so that we and others can press our politicians to address it.”

Written by Vania Galicia

Categories: Social Work, Sociology