Mercyhurst has the unique and exciting honor of being able to say that a group of very talented and passion-driven students recently had their research used to help others around the world. This past month, Mercyhurst students in the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell headed by Intelligence Studies Professor Deb Davies had research shared with Exodus Road. Per their website, Exodus Road is a non-governmental organization with a mission to “disrupt the darkness of modern-day slavery by partnering with law enforcement to fight human trafficking crime.”
According to Samantha Strom, Junior Intelligence Studies and Criminal Justice major, the research was conducted on human trafficking activities taking place in different countries.
“The research conducted was an overview of human trafficking activities in three separate reports on Thailand, Brazil, and Colombia,” said Strom. “The reports looked at transit routes, recruitment techniques, trafficker and victim profiles, related organized crime, government approach, and non-profits working to combat human trafficking in each respective country.”
Conducting research and compiling reports is a regular function of the Cell, which operates not only as an organization at Mercyhurst, but also works with the community and other organizations with goals of combatting human trafficking. The Cell consists of two different branches, the operational branch and the analysis branch. Students have the opportunity to choose a branch or do both.
“The Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition works to provide students with real world opportunities to do research and analysis for actual companies combating human trafficking all around the world, as well as provide operational opportunities to go out and work with community organizations,” said Strom.
The research opportunities are very rewarding for Mercyhurst students to have the option to partake in, and the sharing of the research with prominent organizations, such as Exodus Road, is a very large honor not only for students, but for Mercyhurst University as well.
“I think it is a privilege to have an opportunity to work on and lead these projects that will clearly have an impact on anti-human trafficking efforts,” said Strom. “It feels great knowing that the work I put in is recognizing and potentially preventing human trafficking efforts.”
Samantha Wutz, Junior Intelligence Studies and International Relations major, is also part of the Cell and is grateful for the opportunity to have the Cell’s research shared.
“It is an honor to work on these projects that provide so much to the students involved and the community,” said Wutz. “This is such a unique opportunity to get actual work experience while making a positive impact.”
Students part of the Cell are very dedicated to their work in combating human trafficking both in Erie, as well as around the world. In addition to conducting research and compiling reports, there are also opportunities for members to get out into the community and make physical efforts around the Erie area.
Strom is also grateful for the opportunity provided by the Intelligence Studies program, and credits Mercyhurst’s program for the experiences she has gained.
“Not every university, or even major at Mercyhurst, has the opportunity to write professional Intelligence products that get published and hsared with law enforcement and other officials in different countries for strategic and tactical use,” said Strom. “The analysts of this organization are very dedicated to anti-human trafficking efforts and work hard. Overall, this is a great cause and we are proud of the work we do.”
The efforts, research, and hard work put in by the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell help to make a difference in combating human trafficking around the world. The publication of this research is a huge honor for Mercyhurst.