As a licensed counselor and chairman of a local coalition working against human trafficking, I listened to the Ending Human Trafficking Podcast voraciously. While I had been cobbling together research and training in the field, I always felt like I didn’t have enough experience or knowledge to speak with authority on the subject. When I first heard about the certificate program, I shared about the opportunity at a coalition meeting, and realized it was perfect for me with my role as a facilitator of the coalition, as well as a counselor serving more clients impacted by the crime of human trafficking.
My expectations were that I would be led to explore resources that may or may not be relevant to my work as a counselor. I was blown away by the level of learning required in the course work, reading assignments and projects, which were designed to evaluate the incidence of trafficking both in my community, as well as globally. I read more books on the subjects of trauma-informed care, interdisciplinary perspectives, ethical decision making, vulnerabilities which may lend to risky behavior, as well as countless case studies.
Since completing the certificate program, I have seen great strides made in my Midwest community regarding the awareness of and even prosecution of cases involving human trafficking. Our local police chief has been appointed to Missouri’s newly formed human trafficking task force, which is tremendous progress and a huge answer to prayer. My hope for the future is that I may continue being a passionate voice for the oppressed and a resource in my community, state and region to the sectors which may have influence in policy change, legislation, rescue and restoration services. My heart is for prevention of human trafficking, and ultimately the elimination of supply in the chain of this insidious crime. I feel better equipped to speak on the topic to the various community sectors, and have begun to prepare presentations which aim to bring more awareness and education. As a counselor, the trauma-informed focus has enhanced my training and skills to more sensitively meet the particular needs of those who may have been impacted by exploitation.
I would recommend this program to any students looking to gain insight on the issue of human trafficking, but especially to those who are working in a sector such as law enforcement, medical care, social services, or even legislation. The more experts in their field of study are able to speak with authority on the topics related to human trafficking, the more progress we will see in efforts to eradicate the issue altogether. Just as the subject matter cannot be taken lightly, the course requirements for the human trafficking certificate are demanding, but they come with delightful opportunities such as online chats with classmates around the world. One of my favorite moments was when Dr. Morgan traveled to my city and I had the opportunity to meet with her over tea to glean wisdom and direction regarding the call that I have to the issue of human trafficking.
Submitted by Alice Weimer, MS LPC, Chair of Stand Against Trafficking
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