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Student presents research at Yale

Nov. 18, 2010

Senior discusses human trafficking

By Carmen Galvan
Staff Writer

A Baylor student was one of four students who presented research on the issue of human trafficking at a human rights conference held at Yale University last week.

Saralyn Salisbury, a senior pre-law international studies major and African studies minor, was selected to participate in the Collective Shout Conference student research panel titled "Using Advocacy to Address Child Sex Tourism, Recognizing Gaps in Trafficking Victim Identification: The Need for Training Among Medical Personnel, Pornography and Sex Trafficking."

Salisbury said her research emphasized the gap in identifying human trafficking victims. Too often trafficking victims are misclassified by medical professionals as domestic abuse victims, she said.

"Oftentimes they do know something's off but they don't know how to handle the situation," Salisbury said, referring to medical personnel. "They don't know if it's the boyfriend or maybe someone is abusing her, so they might recognize the abuse but won't classify it as a trafficking situation, which needs to start happening in order to start establishing a precedent for future cases."

Salisbury presented her research along with other students from schools such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Loyola University. Samantha Jones, a senior pre-law political science major and sociology minor, also attended the conference and said it was an exciting experience to represent Baylor.

"We were the only people from Texas that I met at the conference, and I would tell them that I'm from Baylor, and being from Texas I just think that everybody knows Baylor so it was cool hearing people say 'Oh Baylor. I love Baylor,'" Jones said. "It's nice to have that name recognition and to know that we're not that unknown Big 12 school anymore."

Salisbury and Jones were accompanied to the conference by Amanda Allen, project manager for the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative, an organization dedicated to social justice and change. Allen said the organization offered Salisbury a grant to attend the conference as it pertained to social justice. Allen learned about the conference through the Love 146 website. Love 146 is an organization with the mission to end child sex slavery and exploitation through a united community front.

"Someone told me about the organization Love 146 and from there I just paid attention to the news and checked the 146 website every once in a while, and in the beginning of the school year and looked at who would be presenting at the conference and I personally wanted to go," Allen said. "I saw the student research panel and saw what they were interested in and that they were inviting students to submit approaches and proposals about sex trafficking and exploitation, and from getting to know [Salisbury] I knew she had that research."

Salisbury and Jones hope to raise awareness that slavery still exists, and that students should strive to make a difference.

"A lot of college students think we can't do anything about trafficking, but you can raise awareness by telling everyone around you," Jones said. "Make yourself aware, make others aware and don't get overwhelmed by the numbers. Helping just one man or one woman, that's worth it."