Kent Stark students organize anti-human trafficking symposium


Students Cameron Haught, Anna Grund, Michaela Morris, Tatyana Ragon and Megyn Bostic, who helped organize the Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium at Kent State Stark.

Allyson Nichols

“A human life cannot be sold” − a quote taped to the wall of the Kent State Stark campus’ Science and Nursing building on Friday evening and Saturday morning.

The specific quote was something that held high importance to three students that helped organize the Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium.

Tatyana Ragon, a senior nursing student, along with the help of Michaela Morris, a public health student, and Megyn Bostic, a dual entrepreneurship and marketing student, organized the two-day event which included three films and five different speakers.

The three of them compiled a list of groups and organizations in the community including the Domestic Violence Project, sexual assault nurses from local hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic and Akron General and Partners Against Trafficking Humans Stark.

“It’s something that is happening and needs to be heard and if anything, people need to know what’s happening,” Ragon said. “They need to know what to look out for.”

The event began Friday evening with various awareness activities, resource tables and the three films, one of which was created by Bostic herself.

Her film “The Naivete of a Young Girl” centered on the subjects of prostitution and commercial sex as forms of human trafficking, along with forced labor, domestic services, forced marriages, organ trafficking and the effects that it has on the real world.

The event continued on Saturday morning with speaker Joey Compton, a nurse at Akron General Hospital, who spoke about the basics of human trafficking and health care.

Following Compton’s speech, Jan Apisa, the director of community engagement for the Victim Assistance Program of Summit County, spoke about a 2015 study on human trafficking in Northeast Ohio.

The study was conducted over the listings on a website called Backpage which was seized by U.S. authorities in April 2018 due to ads that were used for human trafficking.

Although the website has been shut down, there are still plenty of websites used for human trafficking, including dating websites like Tinder.

“They still had some sites for dating and different categories where you would see a sprinkling of human trafficking,” Apisa said. “It wasn’t as blatant and it wasn’t as high numbered, but it’s still there and it’s still there today. It’s there in different forms.”

The human sex trafficking industry is a $150 billion industry and it is an industry that continues to grow.

Other Resources:

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: 1-802-872-6199

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-843-5678

The National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY

Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline: 844-OHIO-HELP

PATH Center at Akron General: 330-344-6611 or or [email protected]

Domestic Violence Project: 330-453-7233 (24 hour crisis hotline) or

Serenity at Aultman: 330-363-6788

Collaborative to End Human Trafficking:

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center: 855-431-STAR

Bellefaire JCB Homeless and Missing Youth Program Hotline: 216-570-8010

 Allyson Nichols is a Social Sciences and Stark Campus reporter. Contact her at [email protected].