Students compare modern day slavery with slavery of the past
By Grant Goetcheus
Students from the University of Findlay will go to Cincinnati to attend the End Slavery Cincinnati Human Trafficking Conference Feb, 2-4.
January was Human Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month.
Miguel Valdez, a graduate assistant for Intercultural Student Services says this is a great chance to learn more about human trafficking.
“Last week Crystal Weitz and Dr. Robert Braylock were going through the Internet and they found the conference,” Valdez said. “So it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness for that topic and follow it with an activity in the university and follow it with a trip to Cincinnati.”
Dr. Robert Braylock, director of Intercultural Student Services, says that he hopes that the trip will open students’ eyes to the issue of slavery that is not so far away from campus.
“Even within Findlay, IHOP maybe 5 to 10 years ago they were trafficking people out of the kitchen at their restaurant and one or two of the massage parlors in Findlay, Ohio in town,” Braylock said.
The Courier reported IHOP closed in 2011 when its previous owner was caught in criminal activity such as defrauding the government, while two other employees were convicted of identity theft charges involving illegal immigrants.
Braylock’s goal of the Cincinnati trip for students is to become active citizens and take on causes that might not impact them directly.
“We wanted to tie human trafficking today and slavery with slavery of the past and help students compare and contrast those two things,” he said.
Students were asked to send in an application to be considered for the trip. Braylock wanted a wide range of students from all walks of life to be on the trip, and was happy with the turnout.
“We are surprised by the diversity of the applicants and so I mentioned our target was to have a well-rounded group and we have students from freshmen to alumni through that entire spectrum of students from all different colleges,” Braylock said. “Which is great because it’s what we really wanted so we are very happy with the number of applications that we received and the diversity within the applicant pool.”
While in Cincinnati, the group will be given a tour of the National Underground Freedom Center. This opportunity is paid for by the Buford Center for Diversity & Service and gives students a look at what slavery is like today, as well as a glimpse into what it was like in the past.
February is Black History Month and the Buford Center for Diversity & Service has several activities planned.
“We are going to have a few different events. We are working with the Black Heritage Library which is in town so we are trying to come up with a program together to have a Black Student Union meeting over there,” Miguel Valdez said. “That’s a really good resource to find information and also if you want to get more involved in these kinds of issues.”