On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Chi Upsilon Sigma hosted a human trafficking informational event to bring awareness to an issue that is happening worldwide. Chi Upsilon Sigma is a Greek organization that values diversity, leadership and community. This organization had hopes of enlightening its audience while also bringing new solutions for Kean University students to know at the event.
Upon entering the event, the members of the sorority were getting to know other people and making visitors welcome. It was an intimate gathering that allowed individuals to understand the severity of human trafficking.
Keyla M. Munoz, a victim specialist for the FBI Newark Division provided a presentation that explored the complexity of human trafficking as one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises.
"Everything that I tell you today is a true story. I have two videos and information that will help you to understand what we do [in regard to] human trafficking," said Munoz.
She then opened up discussion for students to see what they knew about human trafficking, to which some replied with it being a crime and it being modern slavery.
"Human trafficking is considered a form of modern slavery and it is a slave trade, but what if I told you I had a student trafficking victim that was a Kean student? The reality is that the more you know about it I hope you are less likely to fall prey to it," Munoz said.
Munoz wanted Kean students to understand that they had the power over human trafficking by understanding that it can happen to anyone because that awareness can be the stop sign to this crime.
Munoz then aimed to impart students with basic information on the issues of human trafficking, identifying potential trafficking situations and ways to report it. Moreover, Munoz expounded the causes, effects and various forms of human trafficking that exploits children, youth, men and women.
An example she used was how pimps would manipulate women into believing they would be models and stars in movies, getting them to unknowingly sign up for a system that aims to exploit them and their values.
After the explanation of this system, the presentation discussed the following topics:
- The definition of human trafficking - modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to gain forms of labor or commercial sexual acts.
- The prevalence of human trafficking - it is estimated that 64 percent of all enslaved people are trafficked into forced labor, 19 percent for commercial sexual exploitation and 17 percent as part of state sponsored slavery.
- Industries that allow it - agriculture, construction, clothing sweatshop, restaurants, domestic work, entertainment and the sex industry allow this practice.
Munoz examined the children, men and women that are affected and the grooming techniques or methods to trick the individuals into the service by targeting the victim, gaining trust and information and filling a need then isolation.
Like many other criminal enterprises, there are red flags that spring up, so Munoz pointed out the indications of potential trafficking situations.
Red flags of human trafficking include the following:
- Bad work conditions - limited or no breaks and an unsafe working environment.
- Poor mental health - showing anxiety, nervousness or fearful behavior.
- Poor physical health - limited access to medical care and signs of physical abuse.
- Lack of control over oneself - not being in control over one's possessions such as money and other personal records.
Within this presentation, students learned about NJ-based sex and labor trafficking case examples, alongside information on ways law enforcement intersect with potential victims.
Additionally, Munoz provided information on victim assistance services available through the FBI's Victim Assistance Program, non-profit services and other efforts in NJ to prevent and respond to trafficking. The aim of this presentation was to supply students with awareness on the issue of human trafficking and to foster a better understanding of labor and sex trafficking.
With the event coming to an end students were able to take away the important message that human trafficking is not okay and can be stopped if others take the time to understand it and its system.
Chi Upsilon Sigma will continue to bring speakers with different platforms to engage others and teach the Kean community.