Some crimes are less visible than others, and the Students Against Human Trafficking club at Penn is determined to end one of the most insidious.
While many students may think of human trafficking as a rare crime removed from their lives, it is actually very prevalent in the United States. Trafficking cases occur in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. annually, Students Against Human Trafficking Co-President and Wharton sophomore Geeta Minocha said.
She noted that roughly 20 to 21 million people are trafficked each year, and it is a $150 billion industry. The goal of SAHT, Minocha said, is to raise awareness of human trafficking as an issue and work to eradicate it, because “it happens right here at home.”
“This is the kind of club that isn’t a typical Penn club that’s here for pre-professional reasons,” College and Wharton senior and former SAHT President Serena Advani said. “The point is for people to get awareness and exposure to a really big plight that so many people are facing.”
Advani said the club was founded four years ago as an anti-sex trafficking organization, but over time it has changed its focus to all forms of human trafficking. It currently has about 30 active members.
SAHT often hosts speakers and organized an intercollegiate conference on human trafficking at Penn last year. In April the club will host two speakers, Louise Shelley, a faculty member at George Mason University who researches trafficking, and Alexis Krieger, an FBI victim specialist. SAHT also presents documentary series and holds fundraisers to further the cause.
The club is also holding a drive to gather supplies to donate to the FBI for victims of trafficking who are taken in after raids.
Wharton and College senior and SAHT Co-President Isaac Berg said his motivation for joining was his experience growing up in Guam, where he said trafficking is especially prevalent.
Berg emphasized the need to recruit men for the organization, noting that it can be difficult to do so.
“It’s a human being issue,” Berg said.
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