Putting an End to Child Exploitation and Trafficking

Human Trafficking Awareness starts at PennWest California


Sarah Seader

The Asservo Project leading the Human Trafficking 101: Education and Awareness Seminar

Anna Hohowski, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Criminal Justice Club and the New Life Christian Fellowship at PennWest California hosted a seminar regarding human trafficking education in collaboration with The Asservo Project.

The Asservo Project is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit organization that concentrates on ending the exploitation and trafficking of children.

Cate Colesar, executive assistant for The Asservo Project said this is an important conversation to a topic that is difficult but ever present.

“Students will benefit by understanding that human trafficking and child exploitation is happening around them and what they can respond to bring awareness to the issue and hope to the enslaved,” Colesar said.

During the presentation, students learned about how to identify the signs of someone being exploited, how to find resources to help victims, and how to spread awareness within their area about the issue.

“The presentation was an opportunity to learn about this criminal epidemic that is happening in all 50 states,” Colesar said.

The presentation took place in the South Wing of the Convocation Center on Wednesday night. There was also an option to watch the event through Zoom.

Jessica Buchanan, a junior and vice-president of the New Life Club, was in charge of coordinating the event.

“I really wanted to do this event to begin with, but I wasn’t sure if I’d get to it this semester,” Buchanan said. “Then I realized I might be able to do it for one of my classes. We had to plan, implement, and evaluate an event somewhere in the county. So, I took the opportunity to use it for something that is really meaningful.”

Students signed up for the event using the Engage app. There were 67 students who signed up prior to Wednesday night.

“The day of the event I had about 61 in person and online watching. My goal was 50 to 75 people, and needless to say, I was so glad to have hit my goal,” Buchanan said.

Alyssa Lambert-Alonso, Criminal Justice Club President said while this is a sensitive topic to discuss with children, it is something that needs to be done.

“Spreading awareness to college students can help us when we become parents of our own kids one day. We will know what to look for,” Lambert-Alonso said.

“This is an important topic to talk about with everyone, not just college students. The more we talk about it and educate on it, the more we can stop the problem before it even begins,” Buchanan said.

Students can reach out to the New Life Club, or contact The Asservo Project to find more resources available to those impacted by the human trafficking epidemic.

“I fought for this event to be on our campus because I really don’t know how much our students are aware of this massive problem,” Buchanan said. “I am hoping that this is the start of a powerful movement of our students wanting to stand up for those who have been silenced by human trafficking.”