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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. We are the only undergraduate research lab focused on human trafficking in the state of Illinois and one of a handful in the entire United States, making this applied research experience truly unique for Millikin students. 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 t

Retrospective on Working in the Lab

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As my time in the Human Trafficking Research Lab winds down, I find myself looking back at my time and realizing just how much I really did. I wrote up our lab manual, took minutes in meetings, did a policy brief, got to travel to DC and present at a conference, and a whole lot more. Truly a great experience and I really loved my role as the person who took on what I called the “odd jobs” of working in the lab. I think it was fun to be able to always have something different to do. I also think doing everything else was a lot easier for me than looking at the cases. Because I saw firsthand how much looking at the cases can affect people’s mental health and I am happy to not have subjected myself to that. I don’t know how well I would’ve handled it. Truthfully all I’m feeling as my time with the lab comes is grateful. I earned some money when I really needed it and got to do work that I found important and fulfilling. No complaints, and forever grateful for the opportunity I had to work

Working in Lab this Semester

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Working on a human trafficking research lab has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. As a Millikin university student, I was eager to dive into a project that would allow me to make a meaningful impact. Little did I know, this project would be a journey that would not only educate me but also leave a lasting impression on my heart... When I first started on this project, I had certain expectations and preconceptions about human trafficking. However, as I delved deeper into the research, I was confronted with the harsh realities of this global epidemic. Our team was tasked with delving into the dark world of human trafficking. We spent countless hours researching and analyzing data. I was shocked by the complexity of human trafficking, and the ways in which it affects individuals, communities, and societies worldwide.  The statistics, case studies, and different forms of trafficking revealed a staggering truth that could not be ignored. One of the most significant aspects of thi

The Lab is in Georgia

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The Access Georgian Exchange Alumni took time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Georgia English Language Programs. Former Human Trafficking Research Lab Assistant Kocha Changelia plugged the lab and our research project during his presentation and this is a photo of his presentation. In Fall 2022, Kocha was UGRAD exchange student in Political Science at Millikin University while pursuing his degree in International Relations at the International Black Sea University in Tbilisi, Georgia. It's really great to see how international the lab has become because I was able to include students from the region that I study in my research.

Celebrations of Scholarship 2024

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Celebrations of Scholarship at Millikin University was today and two of my political science students gave research a presentation and a poster. One of the research assistants in the Human Trafficking Research Lab got an honorable mention for a poster on their poster on Human Trafficking from Arrest to Plea Deal in Central Illinois at the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium! This poster symposium is dominated by much better funded hard sciences at Millikin with students who are Leighty Science Scholars and have years of research and summer research support while my students are funded through the grants and money that I fundraise or do independent studies and to get academic credit. I think this makes our honorable mention so much more notable and I am proud of their work Another student presented their senior thesis on Political Fair Use: The Impact of Political Campaigns and Individuals in Promoting Inconsistent Copyright Case Decisions. The students are going on to the Ha

WAND News Interview on Human Trafficking in Ukraine

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The Senate passed a $60 billion aid package to Ukraine on Tuesday in a vote of 79-18 after the House  approved the package Saturday after months of stalling.  The initial aid package includes vehicles, Stinger air defense munitions, additional ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems, 155mm artillery ammunition, TOW and Javelin anti-tank munitions and other weapons that can immediately be put to use on the battlefield.  This is the first major package for Ukraine since December 2022 and when I was in Ukraine in March many people asked me about the hold up in Congress and I could see and feel the ramifications of ammunition shortages. President Biden signed the bill on Wednesday and I was interviewed by WAND our local news station that day about what this aid means to Ukraine and my trip there in March. You can watch the segment on the news here . I am thankful for the opportunity to share my experience and they even mentioned my book (which is displayed in the background o

Talk at San Diego State University

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Last week I flew out to San Diego to give a talk on Human Trafficking Recruitment during Russia's War in Ukraine. I was able to give a guest lecture in a Human Trafficking class in the European Studies Department at San Diego State University. It was interesting to talk to a human trafficking class that was very knowledgeable about the topic on the border of the US with some of the students even crossing the border from Mexico to attend class.  Since the students in class has an entire semester's worth of knowledge on human trafficking but there were also other students and faculty from the university it presented a few complexities. You don't want the students in the class to be bored but you also want the people with no knowledge to understand the basic aspects of the talk. So I used this opportunity to have students from the human trafficking class teach other students the basics of human trafficking. Since my talk was focused on recruitment I also did my human trafficki

CIHTTF Final Survey Assessment

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  As part of our final grant requirements with the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force we are working on our final report documenting task force efforts. The final assessment will examine the performance of the taskforce over the grant period and our impact on Central Illinois in compliance with ECM goals. We will discuss the characteristics of human trafficking in Central Illinois and determine how we can use these data to strengthen and combat these trends through the task force in our region. We will investigate questions about task force needs; key geographic, demographic, and industry-specific vulnerabilities; effective prosecution tactics; and effective organizational strategies. In doing this we would like to assess the performance of the taskforce, identify potential areas of the community where sex and labor trafficking may be occurring, and areas for task force improvements.  Then we will supplement this survey data with the CIHTTF Facebook engagement data, CIHTTF w