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Herzing Staff

Uniting Communities Against Human Trafficking: A Partnership with Herzing University

Human trafficking is a worldwide concern that impacts millions of people every year.

Human trafficking is a worldwide concern that impacts millions of people every year. In response to the continuing threat, communities, organizations and individuals are joining the fight against this egregious violation of human rights. One organization making significant strides in combating human trafficking is the Wisconsin Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Program (WRAP), operated by United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) Latina Resource Center (LRC). 

WRAP is a statewide program with a comprehensive approach aimed at expanding the capacity of Wisconsin communities to identify, protect, and support victims of labor and sex trafficking, both domestic and foreign-born. Through WRAP, important services are made available to victims and survivors, fostering a safer and more supportive environment.

Herzing recently organized a series of human trafficking-focused lunch and learn events across their Wisconsin campuses in collaboration with WRAP. These events served as a platform to enlighten and educate the community about human trafficking and the most effective ways to support victims.

We had the privilege of speaking with UMOS’ Lead Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate, Morelia Blanco Rincón on these events and her advice for driving community awareness about this pressing issue. In her role, Morelia actively engages in developing and delivering comprehensive training programs on human trafficking, performing outreach to vulnerable populations, and directing services to identified victims of all forms of human trafficking. 

How has WRAP made an impact so far?

"WRAP has built a strong multidisciplinary team of dedicated individuals who come together to address human trafficking issues in Wisconsin. Our success is not only measured by the number of cases we handle but also by the impact we have on our clients. We have seen firsthand the positive transformation in clients who have been picked up in the middle of the night with nowhere else to go. Organizations like UMOS have provided these victims with essential support, including food, shelter, and the empowerment they need to reclaim their lives."

Herzing University educates many future nurses. How does the nursing profession play a role in combating human trafficking?

"There is a high likelihood that healthcare professionals in any and every specialization will encounter a victim of human trafficking and be in a position to help them. Nurses and other medical personnel often find themselves on the front lines, in a unique position to identify signs of trafficking and provide immediate help. Knowledge from these types of training can make an immense difference in truly crucial situations.”

Why is human trafficking training important in higher education institutions like Herzing?

"The importance of human trafficking training in higher education institutions, particularly in a diverse university like Herzing, cannot be overstated. Students from all program pathways should be equipped with this knowledge to better serve vulnerable populations, including undocumented individuals and specific visa holders. By understanding the signs and dynamics of human trafficking, students can play a crucial role in identifying victims who may not be able to advocate for themselves effectively."

What other professions will benefit from human trafficking training?

“While the significance of training for law enforcement, social workers, and healthcare professionals is widely recognized, there are several other professions where awareness and education can make a significant difference. Legal professionals, educators, and transportation and hospitality industry workers can all play a critical role in identifying and assisting potential victims. By equipping individuals in these professions with the necessary knowledge and tools, we can create a broader network of vigilant and informed individuals actively working to combat human trafficking.”

What is the significance of identifying the signs of human trafficking?

"Traffickers make victims believe that there are no other options, and it is our responsibility to understand and empathize with their plight. By being able to identify the signs of human trafficking, we can take quick action and provide the support and resources needed to help victims break free from their traffickers. It's about equipping individuals with the knowledge to make a difference."

What surprising aspects have you observed in human trafficking cases you’ve worked on?

"One thing that continues to surprise me is the prevalence of cases involving adults, particularly family members, coercing minors into trafficking situations. It is disheartening to witness how money, threats, and leverage can keep victims trapped. I am especially struck by how the trafficker completely stripes away a man’s manhood because as a Latina, Hispanic men, according to societal expectations, are seen as ‘machos’ overtly strong and masculine and to see them break down in my office telling me how scared and vulnerable they felt in the situation is extremely impactful. Understanding how victims are targeted based on their vulnerabilities and addressing those vulnerabilities directly is key to making a difference."

How can people stay informed and engaged in the fight against human trafficking?

"For those interested in staying updated on the fight against human trafficking, I encourage you to follow us on social media for upcoming events and educational resources. Get involved now to start making a difference. Together, we can raise awareness, enhance prevention efforts, and support survivors on their journey to recovery."

For those who are interested in learning more about UMOS and their work, visit www.umos.org.

Stay up to date on upcoming events at your local Herzing campus by visiting www.herzing.edu/locations.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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