Students in Dr. Stepanka Korytova’s I300 course Global Human Trafficking engage with a range of sources of trafficking prevention and advocacy. They are learning to critique the approaches taken by authors and guest speakers, asking questions such as: Are trafficked persons “victims” or “survivors”? Is sex work a legitimate profession or a form of exploitation? How can we distinguish between migration, smuggling, trafficking, and unfair labor practices?
During the Fall 2014 semester, guest lecturers have included Detective Jon Daggy, head of anti-trafficking operations with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police and Ms. Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, Chief Policy Advisor with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Both are leading members of IPATH, Indiana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Below, students respond to these speakers and to required course reading Sex at the Margins (Zed Books, 2007) by anthropologist Dr. Laura Agustín.
Sophomore WHO says:
When thinking of issues of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, one certainly does not assume that the matter is happening right in their backyard of Indiana… Jon Daggy, who works as an undercover cop throughout the state of Indiana, seems to have a more personal and hands on experience with this growing problem. Stating stories of confronting and working to help young prostitutes get off the streets, he illustrates himself as a harsh yet caring character that can be comparable to Mr. T on the hit television show Law and Order: SVU. Straight forward and at times profane, Daggy shows how one solves the issue of sex trafficking in Indiana personally on the front lines rather than behind a desk.
Sophomore WHO says:
Laura Augustin’s main argument… is the fact that the word “trafficked” does not correctly define the lives of migrants and that the rescue business that is looking to save these “victims” is potentially disempowering them. This is an interesting contrast to the speakers, such as Ms. Kuzman… they have worked firsthand with victims of human trafficking, and to me it seems like they are in fact empowering the people that they help get out of the corrupt business.
And Khun Naung notes:
…Abigail Kuzma, Chief Counsel of Consumer Protection, said human smuggling and trafficking are hard to distinguish; however, victims’ labor was exploited and some became the victims of sex traffickers. Mr. Jon Daggy, an undercover detective, said economics is a key factor… school drop-outs could [also] end up in the sex industries and be exploited.