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The Human Trafficking Research Lab (HTRL) at Millikin University was established in 2018 to transform undergraduate performance learning projects into cutting edge human trafficking research. The HTRL team at Millikin University conducts policy relevant research on human trafficking within the United States and internationally.  Through the  Human Trafficking Research Lab,  we formulate human trafficking research at Millikin by training students to collect, analyze, and write up data results and disseminate these findings to the academic and local community. At Millikin University, our mission is to prepare students for professional success, democratic citizenship in a global environment, and a personal life of meaning and value and the HTRL@Millikin builds on this mission and provides practical hands-on experience with applied research for our students. Millikin University is a private four-year university located in Decatur, Illinois nationally recognized for its emphasis on

The Association for the Study of Nationalities Book Panel

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The Association for the Study of Nationalities gave me a final opportunity to have a book panel on Diffusing Human Trafficking Policy in Eurasia published by Policy Press at the University of Bristol in 2020. The pandemic squashed my original plans for a 2020 book tour in the United Kingdom and then war destroyed my hopes of returning to Ukraine in 2022 to talk about my book and give copies of my book to my Ukrainian colleagues and friends.  This is why I was so excited to get the opportunity to celebrate the publication of my book with a few US based colleagues who were there at the beginning of my research and read through preliminary chapter drafts. My book panel included Cynthia Buckley from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Lauren McCarthy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Nadia Shapkina from Kansas State University and focused on policy responses and failures with human trafficking in Eurasia. We also discussed the implications of forced migration with

Celebrations of Scholarship Poster Symposium

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Millikin published a nice article on the Celebrations of Scholarship and the poster symposium showcasing performance learning, student research, and student/faculty collaborative research. Ngabo presented our Human Trafficking Research Lab project entitled "Human Trafficking Adjudication in Central Illinois" at the 29th Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium today at Celebrations of Scholarship at Millikin.  His poster won first place in the political science category and he received a ribbon and award money for his work. This is the second time a poster from our lab has won an award at the poster symposium and we are so happy to share our work with the campus community. Ngabo's research was also supported by an Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Millikin University in the summer of 2021 so it was also an opportunity to showcase the work from that important student research funding opportunity at Millikin.

Presenting at the Midwest Political Science Conference

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I recently had the pleasure to attend the 79th Midwest Political Science Association Conference with the other members of the Human Trafficking Research Lab at Millikin University. We had the opportunity to share our paper on human trafficking adjudication in central Illinois with other political scientists not only in the Midwest area, but those who had traveled from other states or countries to be in attendance. It was a wonderful experience to be able to share the research we have been working on for more than a year with other scholars and academics. Though we had not completed our research by the time of the conference, we were able to present the findings that we had at that point and were able to get feedback on said research.  I feel that through the feedback from others as well as their questions regarding our research, I was able to understand even better both our work and the importance of it by defending it. We were also able to meet other political scientists and hear thei

Meeting with Metropolitan Family Services Office in Decatur

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We hosted the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services' new Decatur team and Sara Sefried  from the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force at the Human Trafficking Research Lab in early April. We talked about labor trafficking in Central Illinois and opportunities for cooperation in the future. Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services won a $2 million grant to fund and expand legal services and outreach to agricultural workers in Central and Northern Illinois who are at risk for human trafficking. The grant, funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, allowed them to establish a new physical location in the heart of Illinois’s agricultural district. The attorneys will assist clients in reporting trafficking cases to law enforcement, provide victim rights advocacy, assist in immigration matters including T-visas, work with federal agencies on wage claims and workplace violations, and file civil litigation to recover lost wages and damages.   We are looking f

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Highlight

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Last summer Aimable Ngabo was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Millikin University to conduct research on the adjudication of human trafficking cases in Central Illinois. Millikin's PR team caught up with him recently in the Human Trafficking Research Lab and they talked about his research, future plans, and the benefits of student and faculty collaborative research. We will be presenting our preliminary research findings at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference and then Ngabo will also present a poster at the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium as part of Day of Scholarship at Millikin. It's been a busy spring semester in the Human Trafficking Research Lab! Here is the story to learn more about Ngabo and our current research project. 

New Research Lab Publication

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The second peer-reviewed article to come out of the Human Trafficking was finally published with a research assistant as a co-author Julisa Sierra. The work for this article "Multi-Sector Human Trafficking Task Forces in the United States: Typologies and Overlapping Jurisdictions" began in 2018 with the support of a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Millikin University which funded Julisa's work. After numerous revisions the article was accepted in late 2021in the Journal of Modern Slavery and then it was finally available in early March. This article focuses on the development and cooperation of human trafficking task forces, anti-trafficking institutions established to combat human trafficking around the US. We use task force as an encompassing term for over 200 human trafficking multi-sector coalitions, working groups, and/or commissions throughout all 50 states at different levels of jurisdiction. Our research determines the origin, scope, and variati

Press coverage of our Human Trafficking Awareness Month Panel Discussion

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Our fifth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month panel discussion at Millikin University was covered by our local newspaper in Decatur, the Herald and Review and a colleague sent me a picture of the published story in the newspaper below. I am very thankful that the reporter took time to cover this topic and listen to my critiques of media coverage on human trafficking. He also published the Human Trafficking Hotline number at the bottom of the story and said he would continue to include in other stories on human trafficking in the future.   Here  is the online version of the story if you would like to read about our event. The panel discussion was covered by the Millikin University public relations department and you can read that story  here . Thanks to everyone for raising awareness to this issue during Human Trafficking Awareness Month!