Business School Hosts Seminar on Dangers of Sex Trafficking

The University welcomed attorneys Wanda Akin and Raymond Brown to discuss the fastest growing industry in the world, business and criminal enterprise, during a seminar presented by the Leon Hess Business School on Nov. 13 in Bey Hall.

Human trafficking, as stated by Don Moliver, Dean of the School of Business, is the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or to command sex acts by the use of force, fraud or coercion.

Victims of human trafficking are exploited, abused and encouraged in many forms, including child labor, child prostitution and child soldiering, Moliver continued.

Akin stated that victims of human trafficking are often harbored in very low resistance shelters where their movements are controlled. “They’re locked in their rooms at night and only brought out to do the work that they were trafficked there to do,” Akin said.

Akin and Brown are lawyers who specialize in criminal and white collar crime, they are also co-founders of the International Justice Project (IJP). The IJP mission is to promote human rights through the rule of law while providing holistic support to victims of the world’s most heinous crimes such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and human trafficking.

The IJP reported that human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It is a $32 billion industry, surpassed only by illegal arms and the drug trade. It is a practice that claims 20 million victims worldwide with 150,000 people trafficked in the United States.

Statistics about human and sex trafficking are only based on reported facts. They are not a true representation of the amount of people being trafficked because so many cases go unreported or unknown each year.

Akin explained that the issue of human trafficking is especially pertinent to University students because of the amount of trafficking that occurs in NJ. “NJ is eighth in the nation for incidents of human trafficking,” Akin said. “…Just in 2012 we had seventy to ninety cases of reported human trafficking.”

Brown explained that the reason NJ ranks so high among trafficked areas nationwide is because “it has access to the major points of the world.” NJ has access to NY and PA airports and receives millions of daily cargo shipments from all over the world.

Akin describes NJ as a commercial hub, meaning that it hosts a significant number of sporting events every year, including the Super Bowl.

“Despite NJ legislation, recently enacted human trafficking is something that we need to consider within the context of the Super Bowl,” said Moliver. “Where maybe 100,000 children, men and women will be imported into NJ to work in restaurants, hotels, factories, and forced into child sex slavery during the period around Super Bowl.”

Akin continued that the influx of business can be beneficial, although also has a sinister side. During the weekend of Super Bowl people that attend the game are mostly away from home, their families and their regular lives.

As a result, girls, boys and even young children are trafficked to service “high rolling male sports fans who come from all over the world and who are going to be in our cities, towns, for just a few days,” said Akin.

Akin continued, “It’s a week-long feast of all of the untouchable, hedonistic exploits that you can imagine.”

The IJP has done studies on the previous Super Bowls that were held in Houston and New Orleans to prove if sex trafficking does actually increase during the time of the sporting event. Brown and Akin said that the results determined an incredible amount of sex trafficking and prostitution incidents that occurred in the area due to the sporting event.

In an attempt to fight back against sex trafficking, Akin and Brown have been working with IJP and the NJ Coalition “to work with legislatures, politicians and academics to come up with workable laws” to prevent the issue of human trafficking, Akin explained.

Akin and Brown co-founded IJP in 2004 to promote human rights through the rule of law and provide holistic support to victims of mass atrocities.

Akin explained that IJP works to help heal and rebuild through providing legal, logistical and other forms of support to victims.

“The IJP adopts a holistic approach to healing for the victims of mass atrocities that incorporates justice, advocacy, education, and health,” according to the “Working at both the grassroots level with victims and civil society members and at the policy level with key decision makers, we aim to have long-lasting, sustainable effects.”

The IJP works with a range of partners and different sectors including government, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, lawyers, psychologists, health professionals, activists, students and the private sector.

“I think it is pretty interesting that this is a nonprofit organization, they are very dedicated and committed and I thought it was pretty nice that they came to educate us,” said a freshman accounting major Harsimran Kaur. “I didn’t know that there was human trafficking with the Super Bowl, I thought that was pretty interesting and I am probably going to go home and look into it.”

Moliver said that the seminar was the first installment of seminars hosted by the Leon Hess Business School. “At least twice a semester we hope to have provocative issues of the day brought to the forefront by experts and hopefully it will broaden your horizon,” said Moliver.

PHOTO TAKEN by Casey Wolfe