Thursday, August 21, 2014

Helms’ school of government works to eliminate human trafficking

Assistant professor in the Helms School of Government and Director of the Pre-Law Society Dr. Michelle Crawford Rickert, is starting her own non-profit organization, the Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

The coalition, which has been in the works for more than a year, will be based in Lynchburg, Va. It will unite anti-trafficking organizations such as Not For Sale, Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, International Justice Mission and Shared Hope in efforts that these groups will fill all the gaps needed in the state

The main objective of the coalition is to raise public awareness throughout Virginia on the global issue of human trafficking. The coalition will work to educate Virginia’s elementary, secondary and collegiate students on modern day trafficking. The coalition will also have a training prong which will be focused toward law enforcement academies, prosecutors and volunteers.

“My goal is to create a seamless web so that all the existing groups work together to abolish slavery,” Rickert said.

“Liberty Abolishing Slavery,” Liberty’s first weeklong campaign for human trafficking awareness will be held Feb. 28 – March 4. In the past Liberty had a day of human trafficking awareness but the week long campaign is the first of its kind.

In efforts to get faculty on board with the campaign, Rickert hosted a faculty coffee on Monday Dec. 6 where she provided faculty members various disciplines with information on how they can incorporate assignments related to human trafficking awareness into next semesters syllabi.  The meeting began with a brief video clip of the harsh realities of human trafficking in America.

Professors from the Helms School of Government, the School of Communication and professors from the Law School were in attendance.

“My attempt is to get other Liberty professors to catch the vision. I want professors to play an active role in next semester’s “Liberty Abolishing Slavery” campaign,” Rickert said.

Human trafficking is a global problem and it is going to require the efforts of all academic disciplines to conquer it.

“I want every student to know that there is a role for them in this movement regardless of their academic discipline,” Rickert said.

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