Human Trafficking Dynamics and the War in Ukraine

This week I gave a talk at the Lawrence Public Library as part of the Perspectives on Ukraine series, a partnership between the University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Lawrence Public Library. I take the job of researching Ukraine and telling Ukrainian stories very seriously and it was an honor to kick off the series with my talk and stand with Ukrainians against Russian aggression. I bought Ukrainian chocolates (since it was Valentine's Day) and we made Valentine's Day cards to send to Ukrainian survivors of gender-based violence to show our support.

My talk addressed how Russia’s war has exacerbated human trafficking in Ukraine, including child begging, forced labor and sex trafficking. She discussed how wartime conditions have created vulnerabilities for women and children using data from interviews with anti-trafficking advocates and participant observation at centers for displaced persons in Ukraine and refugee reception centers in Europe.

Then the next day I gave a career talk as part of the International Career Series in Bailey 318, a place where I attended many lectures when I was a student. I discussed the integral role of international experiences and foreign language knowledge in making me the person I am today. I started by showing them a photo of me at the beginning of my journey as an undergraduate student studying abroad in Latvia, how I got to where I am today as a tenured professor, and my plans for the future. As you can see from the photos many laughs were shared about my amazing fashion and hair choices over the years!

One last photo of me on the hill with my favorite college mascot, the Jayhawk!


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