Human Trafficking Awareness and Resources

Wednesday, December 2 at 7pm via Zoom; Presented by Dr. Laura Starzynski

This program is online only.  Please register here or call 734-453-0750 ext. 4 and Zoom login information will be emailed to you.

Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, and right here in Michigan. It is commonly regarded as the second largest criminal enterprise after drugs. Human trafficking affects every community in Michigan across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people profit from the control and exploitation of others. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Victims include children and adults who are forced, deceived, or coerced into commercial sex acts and/or labor or services against their will and who often receive little to no compensation. (Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services)

photo od Dr. Laura Starzynski

Dr. Laura Starzynski is a senior lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wayne State University. She is a member of the Southeast Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce dedicated to spreading education and awareness about human trafficking in our communities. She currently lives in Plymouth with her husband and an assortment of dogs.

To learn more about Human Trafficking, check out the following resources:

I am not your slave : a memoir / Tjipombo, Tupa. (2020) “I Am Not Your Slave is the shocking true story of a young African girl, Tupa, who was abducted from southwestern Africa and funneled through an extensive yet almost completely unknown human trafficking network spanning the entire African continent”–

Captive : a mother’s crusade to save her daughter from a terrifying cult / Oxenberg, Catherine. (2018) In 2011, Catherine joined her daughter, India, at a leadership seminar for a new organization called NXIVM. Her twenty-year-old daughter was on the threshold of building a new company and they both thought this program might help her achieve her dream. But quickly, Catherine saw a sinister side to what appeared to be a self-help organization designed to help its clients become the best versions of themselves. Catherine watched in horror as her daughter fell further and further down the rabbit hole, becoming brainwashed by the organization’s charismatic leader.

Human trafficking / Lita Sorensen, book editor. (2020) “According to UNICEF, human trafficking generates a staggering $32 billion in profits each year. Human trafficking takes place all around the world, affecting nearly every country, rich and poor. Women, girls, and migrants are extremely vulnerable to traffickers, who coerce them into sexual exploitation and forced labor. How can the international community allow such terrible criminal networks to flourish? This informative volume offers a diverse array of case studies, first-person accounts, and analyses from experts in the field to provide a full picture of what has been called a pandemic of the twenty-first century”– Provided by publisher.

Human trafficking : a global perspective / Louise Shelley. (2010) “This book examines all forms of human trafficking globally, revealing the operations of the trafficking business and the nature of the traffickers themselves”– Provided by publisher

Sexual trafficking and modern-day slavery / Meyer, Terry Teague. (2016) Sexual trafficking is a pressing issue, and one that doesn’t receive enough attention or discussion. In this groundbreaking title, readers will come face-to-face with the realities of sexual trafficking and modern-day slavery. Myths such as the belief that slavery is a practice of the past are debunked with statistics and facts regarding the global slave trade and sexual trafficking in North America.

Up for sale : human trafficking and modern slavery / Behnke, Alison. (2015). “Human trafficking is practiced every day, in every country in the world–including the United States. Up for Sale takes a hard look at this multibillion-dollar underground industry, its perpetrators, its victims, and the people fighting go end modern-slavery.”–Dust jacket.

Stopping traffic : the movement to end sex-trafficking [dvd] (2018) With the instant reach of social media and explosion in cyber porn, a child sex slave can be purchased online and delivered to a customer more quickly than a pizza. It starts the conversation on a taboo topic, with raw images of life on the streets, heart-pounding rescues and gut-wrenching, personal stories, ultimately offering a story of hope and empowerment, with the goal of engaging others in launching a movement to end modern-day slavery.

I am Jane Doe [dvd] (2017) The epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, the adult classifieds section that for years was part of the iconic Village Voice. Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain and directed by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, the documentary follows the journey of these young girls and their mothers in real time as they run headlong into a collision course not only with Backpage but with judges, powerful corporations, special interest groups, and an outdated internet freedom law that has been interpreted by federal judges to protect websites from any responsibility for hosting ads which sell underage girls. I AM JANE DOE is a gut-wrenching human story and fresh look at a social and legal issue that affects every community in America.