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Professor lectures on human trafficking in Michigan BY RACHEL MATUSZEWSKI RMATUSZEWSKI@LANTHORN.COM

Grand Valley State University’s Delta Phi Lambda chapter hosted a discussion on human trafficking in the state of Michigan to complement the sorority’s home chapter philanthropy of fighting human trafficking. On Thursday, March 15, the sorority partnered with assistant professor of criminal justice Tonisha Jones. Jones’ experience studying human trafficking for 18 years started with her internship as an undergraduate at the prosecutor’s office in a domestic violence unit. She reviewed police reports, helped victims of sexual violence fill out paperwork and accompanied victims to court. When many students think of the words “human trafficking,” they might envision a girl walking late at night snatched off the streets or an immigrant smuggled over the border. Although women may be an easy target due to varying economic, social and political rights, religious populations are also trafficked due to some cases of population displacement. Victimization is found in individuals who identify as youth, homeless, LGBTQ and runaways. They live in isolation, are impoverished and suffer from domestic violence. On a social scale, victims may experience discrimination, immigration, political instability and a lack of strong labor protec-

END IT: Representatives from the Manasseh Project speak out against human trafficking in Michigan after the viewing of the movie ‘Break the Chain’ on Thursday, March 15. GVSU professor Tonisha Jones spoke to those in attendance about being able to identify the warning signs of potential human trafficking victims. GVL | SHEILA BABBITT

tion. The words and images that came to mind for attendees were slavery, abuse, manipulation and control, and they drew images of a red X as they remembered the END IT Movement. Jones said human trafficking comes in many forms and does not discriminate. It comes for sex, labor, illegal adoption, illegal removal of organs and participation of child soldiers. It finds U.S. citizens, foreign na-

tionals, women, men and children. It steals from the streets, fake massage businesses, online ads, truck stops, hotels, homes, factories, restaurants, construction sites, door-to-door sales and more. It takes through violence, threats, debt bondage, confiscation of passports and other forms of coercion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated 1,029 trafficking cases in 2016. The numbers were re-

markably lower for the Michigan State Police in the same year, reporting 17 commercial sex acts. This vast difference could partly be explained by victims going unreported and being hidden or the police confirming the people they see don’t act like victims. Jones taught students the signs to look for in possible victims. “A lot of people say this is bigger than me; I don’t have a

role to play,” Jones said. “But everyone has a role to play.” Jones encouraged students to educate themselves on human trafficking and how to identify it. She suggested raising awareness through friends and family, schools and the local community. There are also ways to get involved through organizations, advocacy and challenging the dominant narrative. In these ways, GVSU students, faculty

and staff can help stop this trafficking. “Not many people are taking action on this,” said Pactra Chab, vice president of Delta Phi Lambda. “We want to be the ones taking action and making the community aware this is happening. You don’t see it, so (we have to think about) how (we) are going to make an impact.”


CASHIN’ OUT: Officials from the GVSU Padnos International Center offer tips on finding study-abroad programs that cost less than a typical semester at GVSU. By using strategies like identifying scholarships earlier, attending study-abroad advising sessions and thinking outside of traditional study-abroad destinations, students can find programs at a much lower cost. COURTESY | PADNOS INTERNATIONAL CENTER

Studying abroad for less BY TYLEE BUSH TBUSH@LANTHORN.COM

Many students do not study abroad during college because they think it is too expensive and they would never be able to afford it. But at Grand Valley State University, there are study-abroad programs that cost less than a typical semester in Allendale. From Chile to China, Ghana to Germany, and Taiwan to Turkey, there are countless destinations available to GVSU students at a minimal cost. Inexpensive trips offer credits for a variety of majors and degrees, and they range

in duration from two weeks, four to 11 weeks and even semester long. Many students who choose these trips end up saving more money than they would have if they had done the semester at GVSU. The Padnos International Center (PIC) is a free resource on campus for students to receive study-abroad advising and guidance. Peer advisers in the PIC office are experienced and trained to find inexpensive study-abroad programs to make study abroad possible for any student. Advising is available on a drop-in basis— appointments are not necessary—so students can stop by


the office in Lake Ontario Hall, Room 130, at any time. Meaghann Myers-Smith, study-abroad adviser at the PIC, is passionate about making study abroad an option for any student. “We like to highlight those less expensive programs so that the opportunity is accessible to any student here if they can be flexible with the destination,” she said. Myers-Smith said many students automatically look into the most popular study-abroad locations, such as the United Kingdom, Western Europe or Australia, and are immediately turned away by the cost. “Thinking outside the traditional destinations is where you find these less expensive programs,” she said. Myers-Smith recommends using the PIC peer advisers because when you’re looking on your own, you don’t know where to start and tend to gravitate toward those traditional destinations. Peer advisers, though, are good at helping students do the research and realize how many experiences are available to them for feasible costs. Alissa Lane, outreach coordinator at the PIC, is also eager to help students achieve a once-in-a-lifetime studyabroad experience. According to Lane, “students see the price tag but don’t always think

about the comparison to how much it costs at GVSU.” A typical semester at GVSU ranges from $11,000 to $13,000 for students living on campus. Lane said when staff members at the PIC determine the listed cost for a study-abroad program, they consider everything from tuition, housing, food, airfare, public transportation and even spending money. So, any study-abroad trip with a bottom-line cost equal to or less than roughly $13,000 is a trip that would be less expensive than a semester in Allendale or Grand Rapids. The PIC also offers more than $200,000 in scholarships to GVSU students who study abroad, and there are plenty of additional resources available, including departmental scholarships such as those in the international relations department, nationally competitive awards through the Office of Fellowships and more. Myers-Smith said it is important that student know they can use their GVSU financial aid packet toward study-abroad costs, even for non-GVSU programs. When she was a student, Myers-Smith was intimidated by the study-abroad price tag until someone told her she could use her financial aid. This is why she wants students to know that the majority of

GV offers programs that cost less than typical semester in Allendale scholarships, federal loans, and even the MET and Pell grant can be used to study abroad.

Experiences are so much more valuable than half the stuff you can buy. ... You won’t remembers ‘things’ half as much as the experiences that you have through study abroad.”

ALISSA LANE OUTREACH COORDINATOR, GVSU PIC It is recommended that students start their scholarship search at least a year before going abroad, or even sooner. Some students have even gotten their whole semester abroad covered in scholarships and aid, so the earlier you start the better. The PIC hosts funding workshops every month where students can learn more about their financial opportunities and even gain some tips on being frugal. Lane and Myers-Smith offered advice to students

on how to cut study-abroad costs while traveling. “Experiences are so much more valuable than half of the stuff you can buy,” Lane said. When she studied abroad, Lane fell in love with travel and soon realized that Western consumerism is overrated. “You won’t remember ‘things’ half as much as the experiences that you have through study abroad,” she said. Myers-Smith added that many students exhaust unnecessary expenses by traveling from city to city while they are abroad. “Students should stay put in the city and country that they’re studying in in order to foster relationships with local people and get to know the culture and language,” she said. “Hopping around to other cities might make them miss out on connections in their study-abroad city.” Myers-Smith wants all GVSU students to know that study abroad is accessible to everyone. “It’s not just an opportunity for students with needs or for the elite,” she said. “If you can fund a semester here at Grand Valley, then you can study abroad.” Students can visit www. to find a complete list of study-abroad programs with less expensive fees.

Issue 50, March 19th, 2018 - Grand Valley Lanthorn  

Issue 50, March 19th, 2018 - Grand Valley Lanthorn

Issue 50, March 19th, 2018 - Grand Valley Lanthorn  

Issue 50, March 19th, 2018 - Grand Valley Lanthorn