24 Mar 2023

SAU Department of Criminal Justice Partners with the US Attorneys’ Office to Join the Fight against Human Trafficking

The Department of Criminal Justice recently partnered with the United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of North Carolina to present the Anti-Human Trafficking Movement workshop for SAU students, faculty, and staff. This program featured in-depth discussions on the prevalence and impact of human trafficking in North Carolina and beyond. US Attorney Michael Easley, Assistant US Attorney Bryan Stephany, and Victim Witness Coordinator Michelle Scott from the eastern district office led a dynamic discussion detailing a range of issues related to human trafficking. Among the topics discussed were the various forms of trafficking, understanding the signs of human trafficking, and the need for improved prevention efforts. The program also featured renowned human trafficking subject matter expert Dr. Sharon Cooper who engaged students regarding her work with human trafficking victims and her expert testimony in several high-profile criminal cases. Despite the heaviness of the topic, SAU students, faculty, and staff thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, leaving with a sense of responsibility to join the fight to eradicate human trafficking. Representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, scholar-practitioners from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and NC Stop Human Trafficking were also in attendance.

Assistant US Attorney Bryan Stephany and Ms. Michelle Scott were integral to the program. Their office offered the following thoughts on the program: “Human trafficking is an issue that can affect anyone, and college students are no exception. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the faculty and leadership of Saint Augustine’s University on this important awareness event and pleased that so many could attend and participate. The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina values the partnership with Saint Augustine’s University that led to this wonderful event. We look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”

SAU’s faculty and staff echoed the excitement about the new partnership between the US Attorney’s Office – Eastern District and SAU. “The Department of Criminal Justice at SAU is thrilled to have some of the most accomplished legal and academic practitioners in the country on our campus to deliver such a timely and important workshop on human trafficking,” said Dr. Jonathan Glenn, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. “The data continue to show how this issue disparately impacts college-aged young women, especially young black women. Our partnership with the US Attorney’s Office in sponsoring this program is only the beginning. Expect to see SAU Criminal Justice at the forefront of the fight to eliminate human trafficking in the months and years to come.”

SAU Associate Vice President of Police and Public Safety Chief Charles Simpson was instrumental in making the program successful. In addition, SAU students and faculty representing every department within the School of Arts, Social Sciences, and Communications attended the event. Dr. Leslie Rodriguez McClellon, Senior Vice-President of Student Experience and Criminal Justice major, Ms. Morgan Penny, offered remarks during the event. Dean James Lyons was also instrumental in bringing this program to SAU. Dean Lyons remarked, “The School of Arts, Social Sciences, and Communications is committed to delivering dynamic, experiential learning opportunities for our students. This topic is too important for us to remain on the sidelines. We will continue to bring awareness and develop strategies to end human trafficking.”