Spotlight Speaker event educates Kent State on modern-day slavery

Audrianna Modon

Anne Victory spoke to Kent residents and students about human trafficking Wednesday, in the fourth Nonprofit Spotlight Speakers event.

Victory started her presentation by educating the audience on human trafficking. Between 20.9 and 40 million people worldwide are slaves, whether it be sex or labor slavery. This is a $150 billion-dollar industry worldwide, with over $99 billion of that in the sex trade.

“They’re being treated as if they have a virtual barcode on them,” Victory said.

She went on to inform her audience that human trafficking is something happening in our neighborhoods, and gave examples of labor slavery with the Zambian Acapella Boys Choir. She also told the story of a young girl, Teresa Flore, who was taken advantage of, coerced into sex slavery and survived.

Victory identified tactics that human traffickers use to control their slaves, which included force, fraud and coercion, and explained how these are used to manipulate and enslave people.

“The ropes and chains that are psychological are much, much stronger than any real chains could be,” Victory explained.

Then, Victory went on to speak about the stereotypical pimp, and gave examples of how just about anyone could be participating in human trafficking, like teenagers, the elderly, and even doctors.

This was a point of emphasis that Omotayo Agaja, a junior speech, pathology and audiology major took away from the event.

“The people who are the traffickers, they come in all different forms,” Agaja said. “It’s not necessarily somebody who you’re looking for… it can be anybody. You just have to look at the red flags.”

Sponsors of the event included the Women’s Center, the Nonprofit Studies Program, Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services and International Justice Mission Student Organization.

Donations were collected at the event for organizations that help aid those affected by human trafficking, including the salvation army, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and the FBI.

The mission of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking is educating and advocating for the prevention and abolition of human trafficking while connecting services on behalf of trafficked persons. Victory, the education coordinator for the Collaborative, has served on the steering committee since its founding in 2007. 

Caroline Lukeheart, a member of the International Justice Mission Student Organization, helped organize the event for the last four weeks, and believed students needed to hear what Victory was saying.

“I think it’s important to let them know that human trafficking is a big deal and a lot of people don’t realize that it’s occurring on our campus and in our state,” said Lukeheart. “A lot of people think about it as a far-away issue. It’s not. It’s happening all over the United States.”

Victory requested everyone go to, and answer questions on that site about what their living arrangements are, their regular habits, and where they shop.

After answering these questions, the user is given a number. Victory said her number was 18. Afterwards she became a much more conscientious shopper. 

“That number is how many slaves work for you right now to maintain your current lifestyle.” 

Audrianna Modon is the College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].