Speaker raises awareness about human trafficking

People piled into a room in the Soderquist Business Center Thursday to listen to guest speaker Jeffrey Brauch lecture about the issue of human trafficking.

Students, professors and community members listened eagerly, some even standing in the back. Frank Niles, associate professor of political science, introduced Brauch and said people turned out in unprecedented numbers.

“We had a suspicion that the small room wasn’t going to be big enough,” Niles joked.

While his presentation was titled, “Human Trafficking and the High Calling of a Christian Lawyer,” Brauch, dean of the School of Law at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., emphasized several times that all Christians are called to strive for justice.

“This is not just for futures lawyers, but for the media and teachers.” Brauch explained.

He began the evening with an overview of the human trafficking problem, focusing heavily on its domestic repercussions.

Human trafficking, the fastest growing crime in the world, is soon set to outpace the illegal drug industry, Brauch said. There are 27 million slaves in the world today, and 5.5 million kids are trafficked globally each year.

“It’s an American problem too,” Brauch stressed, citing a statistic that 17,000 people are trafficked each year in the U.S.

Brauch outlined a five-step process to combat human trafficking: prevention, detection, rescue, restoration and prosecution and legal reform. People need to be educated on the issue; trained properly on how to detect, rescue and help restore potential victims; and take legal action, he said.

“There are several ways laws in this country to be changed,” he said. In his opinion, buyers need to be prosecuted just as regularly as pimps and captors.

The talk concluded with several examples of people who are making a difference in the realm of human trafficking. An Oklahoma teacher educates truck drivers on the issue. A couple, both previous graduates from Regent, work in India with law enforcement and local businesses to help rescue and employ women. A Mexican couple has rescued more than 130 kids, bringing them into their own home. A filmmaker increases awareness. And a U.S. Attorney brings justice to Virginia Beach.

“Make a difference, one person, one life at a time,” Brauch urged. “I am confident that your generation is going to help put a stop to, or help significantly slow down, human trafficking.”