Developing a Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-central Pennsylvania

Given the high level of activity in this area, more understanding of this horrific issue is needed.  To this end we are trying to establish a center to study human trafficking in south-central Pennsylvania.  Here are a few of the details.

Summary Proposal

 Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-central Pennsylvania

There are an estimated 4 million people trafficked annually around the globe. Human Trafficking is the second most profitable business in the world. Most countries in the world are affected by this shadowy stepchild of globalization and the end of the cold war.

The processes of movement of people to gain a better quality of life have drastically changed in the 21st century.  Some of these movements have been for the better and increased the standard of living of millions of people around the world. Other people, however, have taken advantage of this changing human dynamic and profited from an illegal and immoral movement of people for purposes of human exploitation. In Central Pennsylvania numerous reports have cited the interstate 81 and U.S. 15 corridor as high volume areas for both transporting and even destinations of trafficked young women.

This proposed center attempts to establish a vehicle for understanding human trafficking and sex exploitation in general, and what is occurring in south-central Pennsylvania in particular.   Very few centers exist that carefully examine the role of this horrific exploitation.   As a part of any women’s studies program, human trafficking is one aspect that must be first identified and secondly understood through research and through education.  The center is an attempt to create both knowledge and awareness, and to initiate activities that will help find solutions to decrease and eliminate this despicable activity.

Membership in the Center

The Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-central Pennsylvania (CSHT) will consist of colleges and universities and appropriate public agencies in York, Lancaster, and Adams Counties.

This includes 6 facilities of higher education, three participating United Way Agencies, and two Community Foundations in the three county areas.

Paying for the Center

At a time of tight budgets, any proposal for a new center may seem hard to justify.  Yet given the importance of this issue, and its potential synergies with several academic departments, not for profit institutions and local foundations, such a center offers many exciting research, pedagogical, and service opportunities at a very low start-up cost.  This proposal will show how such a center can be formed with minimum expense and maximum benefit to the sponsoring academic departments (sociology, women’s studies, labor studies, and globalization courses), and community organizations.

To pay for the center, each college will offer one course per year at the adjunct faculty rate of approximately $3000 per course.  These courses could be:  Global Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Approaches to Studying Human Trafficking, Crossings and Voyages: Voluntary and Involuntary Migration, Legislation and Migration: Laws Concerning Trafficking, Social Change and Social Movements, and Labor Laws and Labor/Human Rights. Practically all of these courses are interesting to undergraduate students, and historically enrollments in these types of courses have been high.  Put another way, they pay for themselves.  Additionally to be part of the consortium, each college will contribute $500 per year to help cover the expenses of the consortium/center activities.  Therefore from the academic sector, each year there will be a total contribution of $21,000.  One of the major benefits of the Center will be the placement of students in the community for service projects and internships.

We are hoping the York County Community Foundation and the Lancaster County Community Foundation will each contribute $5000 per year to the center.   For this fee, the center will provide seminars and workshops on aspects of local human trafficking to community members in general.  Additionally, and hopefully, three United Way funded organizations will work with the center to provide locations for projects and internships for the students in the academic courses. Through United Way support these organizations will sponsor the center (CSHT) in the amount of $3000 per organization.  The total funding of the Colleges, Foundations, and participating United Way organizations adds to $40,000 per year.  From this sum $3,000 will be used for program development activities and the remaining $37,000 will be the salary for the center director.  In this pilot program it is assumed that a three year commitment would be obtained from all of the partners.

Through the center, speakers and authors will be invited to be part of each of the courses presented. Documentaries used in the courses can be used as a film series to highlight the center’s activities. Consequently, from the very beginning of the center’s creation, the sponsoring organizations and colleges will have an “international reputation” with speakers from all areas of the world being able to interact with their graduate and undergraduate students.

Benefits of the Center

1             Startup expenses are kept to a minimum.

2              The center will shine a light on a serious social issue occurring in South-central Pennsylvania. There is an obvious need for such a center, and its existence will be welcomed by all.

3              The courses taught in the participating colleges and universities lend themselves to volunteer work and internships in not-for-profit organizations, providing valuable experience and talent for both entities.

4              The courses are needed and appreciated by students; courses might be cross-listed in two or                  more departments.  All courses will fulfill the international/global requirement for graduation. Women’s studies program would be enhanced by a component on human                trafficking.  The center will support students’ research in international affairs.

5              The courses selected all have the availability of international experts interacting with the graduate/undergraduate students and community leaders.

6              The nature of the center will foster higher education and community cooperation; the center opens up areas of funding that were previously not available to the participating organizations.