Students Volunteer and Participate in Human Trafficking Summit

The Florida Human Trafficking Summit was held in the Marshall Student Center on Thursday, Oct. 3. The event was co-hosted by the University of South Florida alongside the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Secretary Wansley Walters and Governor Rick Scott were in attendance as speakers of the 14 sessions and panels educated audiences on the dangers of human trafficking and the importance of combating this issue.

Several students in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences volunteered for the event and, in exchange, were allowed to take part in sessions of their choosing.

Camille Bowers, senior in the social work program, volunteered her time by representing the Social Work Society and assisting with parking services. In the time between her duties, she was able to attend the sex trafficking survivor panel.

“I really enjoyed listening to the hard reality of this problem. The survivor panel did not sugar coat their experiences because in the real world this problem cannot be hidden,” said Bowers.

Danny Goff, a senior majoring in criminal justice, considers human trafficking in the “core four” of his areas of interest.

When he wasn’t assisting attendees with parking, Goff sat in on the human trafficking for law enforcement and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) investigations and prosecutions panels. As a criminology student, the human trafficking for law enforcement panel was most interesting for him.

“Human trafficking is not what I thought it was. I got an in-depth look into who it affects and where and why it occurs,” said Goff.

As seniors in their respective fields of study, Bowers and Goff will not be able to attend the summit, wherever it may be held, next year.

“I haven’t looked extensively into career or research options in human trafficking, but if an opportunity arose then it’s something I’d like to be part of. Maybe I’ll be able to attend as a professional in the field,” said Goff.

As president of the Social Work Society, Bowers had an idea with the students in mind.

“I would really like to see more student involvement from different organizations that focus on this issue. I intend to continue to combat this problem, especially at USF. Maybe this summit could be replicated on a smaller scale for students to attend,” said Bowers.

By Molly Alexander