13:06 PM

UST PSON Provides Anti-Human Trafficking Seminar to Archdiocesan School Principals

University of St. Thomas Peavy School of Nursing in partnership with CHI St. Luke’s Health provided an Anti-Human Trafficking Seminar to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston School principals on May 10. Dr. Michael Sullivan, associate professor of Nursing and Kimberly Williams, Human Trafficking Program Coordinator with St. Luke’s CHI, were the presenters along with human trafficking survivors Rachel Fischer and Kathy McGibbons.

Human Trafficking is Second Largest Criminal Activity in the World

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world and the victims live among us. Houston is a prime destination for human trafficking due to our ports, airports, industry and rising immigrant populations. Human trafficking is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world with as many as 20 − 40 million individuals living in slavery-like conditions throughout the world. 

Certain Groups of Children and Youth are More Vulnerable

Increasingly, traffickers are using fear tactics to lure children and youth into commercial sex acts and/or compelled labor. The base of the issue is the traffickers’ goal of exploiting and enslaving victims and the coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so. Certain groups of children are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Young people, especially those with risk factors, are vulnerable to human trafficking. Those who are most at risk include children from low socioeconomic backgrounds or single-parent homes and those without homes.

Beware of Seemingly Innocent Dating Apps

In addition, students should be especially cautious when they are accessing dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. While these apps can be seemingly innocent, they enable human traffickers to disguise themselves as charming, young men and women who are in reality grooming young people for a life in the sex industry.

Sullivan said, “The seminar provided not only an informational learning opportunity but most importantly, the call for UST, CHI St. Luke’s Health and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to collaboratively work together in addressing this pandemic plight.

“In concert with our Core Values, the University of St. Thomas continues to seek with creativity and commitment, activities and proposals so that people can be born again. As we collaborate with our community partners may we become witnesses that the Kingdom of God is in our midst; like men, women, and children who were once oppressed may rise up, break their chains, free themselves and proclaim it!” Sullivan said.