Presenting the Human Trafficking Vulnerability Assessment in Central Illinois

Very recently, I was responsible for what I deemed to be my first “big” job as a member of the research lab team as part of the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force. Dr. Dean had me edit the Human Trafficking Vulnerability Assessment in Central Illinois and it was honestly really fun. I was excited to do something like this because I really haven’t ever done a professional job like this and it not be for a school assignment. The editing was pretty seamless honestly, with just a comma here, a hyphen there, and maybe putting “are” where it originally said “is”. All in all, it was straightforward, easy to do, and rewarding to finish. It was also kind of surreal to see something I had worked on included in the vulnerability assessment. 

Once the edits were completed we presented our findings to the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force in one of our general membership meetings. The presentation was pretty neat too! I never have done a presentation outside of a classroom setting, so it was admittedly daunting to speak in front of other members of the human trafficking task force as opposed to peers in the classroom. The cool thing was showing something I had worked on to professionals who are much more well-versed and educated on the issue, and instead of them acting interested because I was some kid showing something I worked on, I felt respected as more of a colleague and that they appreciated the work I was presenting. 

The thing that really told me just how well the presentation had gone, was when Dr. Dean had forwarded a couple of emails to us from other members of the task force telling us how exciting and enjoyable our presentation was. I think it’s also worth noting, the work Dr. Dean and my fellow research assistant, Gabby Watson, put into the report. Almost everything I have done for the task force has been new to me and the communication from Dr. Dean and Gabby has just been terrific. Both of them have created an environment that allows me to ask questions and really find my footing in the work I do for the task force and the Human Trafficking Research Lab. Next, we will have listening session where we receive feedback on the assessment and then go back and edit the document again before we sent it to the Department of Justice.

Rhys Deiter


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