International crime evident in Alabama

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

Human trafficking has been the subject of blockbuster movies and books, but it is also a very real threat in the United States.

“After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal activity in the world,” said Jenny Duncan, assistant coordinator for the Sexual Assault and Violence Education Program at Troy University.

And, Duncan said, human trafficking is a growing issue in Alabama due to the international port in Mobile and the state’s proximity to Atlanta.

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“Atlanta is a huge hub for it,” Duncan said, noting the international airport there. “It’s easy to traffick people in and out.”

That’s why, Duncan said, the S.A.V.E. Project and Personal Counseling Office will host a Human Trafficking Workshop at the university on May 16.

“It definitely hits home with the university,” Duncan said. “We do have a large international student population. We see them being manipulated, not to this level, but they are at risk. And, a lot of our students travel abroad.”

Some of the most talked about types of human trafficking involve the sex trade, but there are many different forms.

“It can be any type of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring and/or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them,” Duncan said.

The workshop, which is funded in part by a grant from the Alabama Department of Community and Economic Development, features presentations by Nola Theiss, of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships; Monica Stump, U.S. Attorney’s Office (Middle District of Alabama); and Alesia Adams of Salvation Army Southern Territorial Headquarters.

Registration is $35 for non-CEU participants and $55 for CEU participants. To register, contact the Troy University Continuing Education Center at 334-983-0005. Seating is limited to 100 participants and the deadline to register is Friday, May 11.