USC must bring awareness to human trafficking
By SOPHIE ROPPE
Just a short distance from USC sits Staples Center, a stadium for concerts, conventions and professional basketball games. The venue holds just over 20,000 fans — enough space to fit all undergraduates at USC — with rows of seats packed with people elbow-to-elbow.
Imagining the vast number of people it takes to fill the Staples Center makes it even more astounding that every year, around 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States, according to The Women’s Center.
Human trafficking refers to the illegal transportation and trade of people, often for forced labor or sexual slavery. People may have an understanding of what constitutes human trafficking, but often they picture it occurring in faraway places and have no idea how to solve it.
California ranks as one of the worst states in the nation for human trafficking, and Los Angeles ranks as one of the worst cities. This past January demonstrated that fact when a human trafficking bust in California led to the rescue of dozens of victims and the arrests of hundreds of perpetrators.
The prevalence of human trafficking within the community we live and attend school in makes USC’s lack of courses to educate its students on the problem all the more baffling.
Admittedly, at least one school within USC has made a strong effort to educate the student body and surrounding community. The USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work organized a panel of human trafficking survivors to talk about their experiences, looked at the root causes of human trafficking and reported tips on how to recognize it.
But the School of Social Work is a graduate institution. So, while it has done a commendable job at highlighting the problem by offering solutions, it lacks widespread reach across the entire student body, thus leaving the undergraduate population unaware of the rampant problem and without the resources that could affect change.
For these reasons, USC should offer a course that informs undergraduate students about human trafficking within the surrounding community.