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Taking a Stand on Trafficking

Members of the new student group UAlbany STAT hope to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking, and work with the community to find solutions. (Photo by Giovana Padilla) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 19, 2017) — Every year, 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labor, and some 600,000-800,000 are trafficked across international borders, exploited as sex workers or s form of indentured servitude.

A new student group aims to raise awareness of this problem, and to promote fair trade and find ways to assist victims of human trafficking.

The new group, UAlbany Students Against Human Trafficking or STAT, formed the spring with the aid of advisor Dennis McCarty, an adjunct instructor for both the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and the UAlbany School of Criminal Justice.

And STAT members have already begun putting their ideas into action, holding group meetings to air issues and share ideas for solutions, putting together presentations to teach others about trafficking, screening a movie on the topic, and raising money to support for a safe house for women and children victims.

Ali Hansen, a sophomore with a double major in Criminal Justice and Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, is president of STAT. Her interest in forming the group began when she took McCarty’s course on human trafficking during the Fall 2016 semester. It’s a topic she was already concerned about, and the course gave her a more in-depth perspective on just how serious the issue is, she said.

“I am dedicated to getting this organization off the ground and working with fellow students to educate and assist those who have been affected by different forms of trafficking,” Hansen said.

Human trafficking happens everywhere, both internationally as well as all throughout the United States, even in New York State. Many don’t realize this form of modern-day slavery could be happening in our own backyard, Hansen said.

As an organization, STAT’s goal is to help the community understand trafficking and how they might unknowingly contribute to the issue. For instance, cheap clothing may be produced in sweatshops abroad where victims of trafficking work in virtual slavery. STAT hopes to raise awareness of the different forms of human trafficking and find ways, as a community, to help.

“Despite the fact that human trafficking may seem like too large of an issue for one group of people to fight, we want to encourage students that they can make a difference,” Hansen said.

The group hopes to empower others to take a stance. Some of the steps the group encourages:

  • Be a conscientious and informed consumer.
  • Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
  • Participating in hosting awareness events to watch and discuss films about human trafficking.
  • Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
  • Be well-informed and aware.

For more information on the organization you can email Hansen at ashansen@alabny.edu or follow the group's Facebook Page.

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