Human Trafficking: Yes, it’s in Your Backyard

Watch, Rescue, and Guard. These are the three most important pillars to help prevent and put a stop to the 150-billion-dollar industry, Human Trafficking.


Sarah Seader

Attendees at the Human Trafficking 101: Awareness and Education Seminar

Sarah Seader, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, Sept. 28. PennWest California students and staff had the opportunity to attend The Asservo Project: Human Trafficking 101 Education. The event was held in the South Wing of the Convocation Center from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Asservo Project is a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA and focuses heavily on education was founded in 2017 by Joseph Sweeney. Their mission as noted on their website is: “A critical pillar of our work is community education, which we pursue with the awareness that by informing and empowering even one individual, we stand to prevent or undermine human trafficking in the future.”

This event was co-hosted by PennWest California’s Criminal Justice Club and New Life Christian Fellowship. Vice-President of New Life Christian Fellowship, Jessi Buchanan, is a Junior Event Planning and Management Major. Buchanan explained the importance of having this event, “I think it’s important for students to understand that it isn’t just an ‘over there’ thing. It very much happens here, including on a college campus. It happens to both guys and girls, but predominately girls.”

Buchanan further explained that education is truly the key, “So, educating girls on how to identify a potential trafficker, or guys being able to identify a trafficker or someone in need can help prevent it in the first place. It takes an entire group to combat these problems. People watching out for each other and knowing what they need to be looking for, or even how to look. There are new tactics every day, and we have to keep our students vigilant.”

One of the speakers, Brenda Lutz, conveyed the importance of prevention during the Asservo Project presentation. Buchanan reiterated how prevention is the key and said, “education can help stop at lot of these things from happening before it even begins. The more students are aware of the problem, the more they have the ability to stop it. We fight for equality and fairness, and this is one people that needs to be fought for too.”

Given that this event was a huge success and attended by both students and staff, there is the potential for bringing this event back to campus in the future to reach even more students.

The key takeaway from this event was HOPE. Know that you are not alone and there are resources available. For more information or to support this initiative please visit: