A packed McCance Auditorium welcomed three speakers from a variety of career fields Tuesday evening as they presented three varying perspectives on human trafficking and what everyday people can do to stop it.
The panel of speakers, hosted by the Bonner Scholars program, included Cassy Dorsch, a social entrepreneur and Waynesburg University alumnus, Dr. Keith Reider, professor of psychology at Waynesburg University and Joe Ryczaj, Pittsburgh Police Department detective.
Dorsch led off the session by sharing her experiences dealing with human trafficking during multiple trips to the Dominican Republic, twice as a student and once last fall as she continued her work in the social entrepreneurship field.
“A lot of the women [we worked with] focused on spiritual growth,” Dorsch said. “The church there is very legalistic, and they teach women that they can’t wear jewelry and can’t show their shoulders. So, we’re trying to teach them more about grace.”
Redier followed Dorsch and spoke about human trafficking from the psychological perspective while considering the modern issues of the crime in the United States. He believes the brain plays an important role in human trafficking and can be affected by others. However, it’s difficult to know what a lead human trafficker is thinking. Some believe an increase in medical drugs can solve the issue, but Reider isn’t among that group.
“Our tendency in this culture is to drug the problem. We want to get medications to control the problem,” Reider said. “But if you do some hard work, you don’t need the medication.”
Reider explained how human trafficking can lead to two types of trauma that everyday people experience: type one trauma, which is induced through one specific event, and type two, which is from repeated actions, like beating or rape. The results of experiencing type one trauma can last a lifetime according to Reider.
“You are a different person if you’ve had this experience, even though you don’t have to keep reliving it,” Reider said.
Ryczaj spoke third and agreed with a lot of the psychological reasoning behind the abusers and those who are trafficked. However, he spoke more on how law enforcement views the human trafficking epidemic and the ways in which police officers and detectives alike are working to stop it.
“It’s a human being. It does not want to be doing this,” Ryczaj said. “Ignoring the problem that exists on the street or in these hotels is the answer. I certainly believe going out, addressing it, taking them of the street and giving them a chance [is].”
All three speaker’s were aligned in their ideology behind human trafficking. Additionally, each is working in their respective field of law enforcement, psychology or social entrepreneurship to put an end to the crimes being committed.
Ryczaj concluded by saying that humans are people, and human trafficking is simple in the way of its definition.
“The definition of human trafficking is force, fraud or forgery, and that’s what you have,” he said.