Asbury Offers Class on Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention – Asbury University
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January 11, 2023

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 27 million people are victims of human trafficking around the world, with trafficking situations rising by 12% from 2016 to 2021. January serves as Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and Asbury remains dedicated to providing awareness to students through a new class in the political science department.

The class launched in the fall of 2022 (PS 393: Human Trafficking) and likely will be offered again in the fall of 2024. Dr. Glenn Harden, assistant professor of political science and history, taught the first cohort of students.  

“Students should take the class in human trafficking awareness and prevention so that they better understand and are better prepared to engage in work with vulnerable populations,” Harden said. “That knowledge will help us to refrain from fear and engage in ethical practices that better promote human flourishing.”

Olivia Schroen ’24, a political science major, reflected on her experience taking the class.

“A big myth about trafficking is that it is not a domestic problem in the United States and is only prevalent internationally,” Schroen said. “A majority of the products we use boast low prices, but that is in part due to the extremely cheap labor all over the world due to human trafficking.”

Schroen’s dream job after graduation involves working in the legal side of anti-human trafficking efforts.

Jena Pelletier ’23, a sociology major, completed the class and accepted a spring internship with Kentucky Refugee Ministries working in health services.

“This course challenged my faith and grew my understanding of human trafficking, and the role we, as Christians, play in solving this issue,” Pelletier said. “My faith was challenged to be more aware of the language I use when talking about human trafficking.” 

Pelletier’s dream job after graduating involves health advocacy and bringing awareness and education to marginalized and vulnerable communities.

“During my internship with Kentucky Refugee Ministries this semester, one of my objectives is to teach life skills classes and take clients to doctor appointments, among other things,” Pelletier said.

As Christian citizens, we can work to combat human trafficking in both our local and global communities in practical ways.

“One way to help with human trafficking prevention is to be aware of what we consume,” Pelletier advised. “Buying fair trade is a great way to invest in products where fair working wages are given to the individuals making the products. Also, we should know the signs of human trafficking and should report tips to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.”

Harden’s class encourages students to understand the nuances and cultural contexts surrounding the issue of human trafficking.

The Asbury University Social Science & History Department offers four majors (History, Political Science, Social Studies Grades 8-12, and Sociology) and three minors (History, Political Science, and Sociology). Learn more: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/departments/social-science-history/.