Scottsdale Community College raises awareness on human trafficking


Sevilay Kelek/SCC

Students gathered around the human trafficking awareness event tables outside of the student center.

Paige Vannarath and Sandile Lukhozi

As part of addressing global issues that affect ordinary people, the Women Rising student club at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) is hosting several Human Trafficking Awareness Week events from Feb. 6 through Feb. 8.

Often referred to as “modern-day slavery”, this year’s awareness is celebrated under the theme of “Students Against Trafficking.”

Students made handmade bracelets to encourage the “ask me” agenda and handed out free t-shirts to those interested in the learning more about the topic.

According to statistics- including an article published on CNN on March 14, 2017- Human Trafficking should be a cause for concern in America with more than 3,500 sex trafficking cases reported to the National Trafficking Resource Center in 2016 alone.

Andrea Scherrer, SCC’s Women Rising club advisor, said that part of the awareness is to educate SCC students about misconceptions of human trafficking.

“For the second time in succession, we have partnered with the McCain Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) in order to spread accurate information about human trafficking,” Scherrer said. “Our hope this week is to start a conversation with as many people as possible and to share with them the statistics and facts that are supported by the in-depth research being done in Arizona.”

In support of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, the Men Empowerment Network (MEN) have also teamed-up with Women Rising club to share awareness regarding human trafficking.

According to SCC’s MEN Club advisor, Aaron Taliaferro, this awareness aims to address overlooked perceptions of human trafficking.

“A lot of people think that human trafficking is big outside the country, but actually human trafficking is big locally and throughout the United States,” Taliaferro said. “A lot of kids come into human trafficking and sex trafficking at the average age of 13 and 15.”

President of the Women Rising Club, Sara Chadwick, spoke with Northeast Valley News about the importance of understanding that human trafficking is all-encompassing.

“Human trafficking, it happens everywhere, it happens out of the country, it happens in your hometown,” Chadwick said.

“We feel like we’re protected but a lot of times we just aren’t shown it.”

Chadwick said that starting the conversation on what human trafficking is, is just the beginning. She believes that other states should take more initiative to push further research and care for the growing issue.

“There’s a lot of research in Arizona just because we have a lot of backings with government and with the governor’s office,” Chadwick said. “The more you peel back an onion to look at something, the more you’ll find. A lot of places haven’t done their research to find it.”

On Feb. 7, the Women Rising Club is having a “blue-out shirt day” at the SCC vs. Cochise College basketball game at 7:30 p.m. to further voice human trafficking.

Then, on Feb. 8, a victim of past human trafficking will speak about her experiences at an event open to everyone in the SCC Performing Arts Center from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.