St. Scholastica observes National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human trafficking is an increasing social justice issue affecting approximately 49.6 million people globally according to the U.S. Department of State. In December of 2022, President Biden signed a proclamation stating that January 2023 would be National Human trafficking Prevention Month. The College of Saint Scholastica (CSS) commemorated this month of awareness by inviting the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA)’s Northeast Safe Harbor Navigator, Mel Alvar, to present to the student community the many components that make up the risks and dangers of human trafficking.

Alvar explains “There’s a growing need for more awareness and student involvement on campuses at the greater state level. Actually, we’re going to be doing some training with Title nine coordinators across the state. So really emphasizing on getting that awareness out there to students and really capturing their involvement in the movement.”

The CSS-campus platform, Diversity Dish, is a meeting space to discuss issues that are relevant to the Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion Office. Each month they highlight a different social justice issue that can contribute to developing students’ professional and leadership skills.

The Safe Harbor Regional Navigator, Alvar, is the point of contact for all human trafficking information in Northeast Minnesota. Alvar points out that previous conversations around the subject of human trafficking have been unapproachable to most and she would like to help bring the topic to a community-level conversation.

Alvar states, “My presentations help to create more awareness around how it could be happening in intimate partner violence relationships, in situations where someone has housing insecurities or food insecurities or substance abuse issues. It can also happen to somebody who’s not experiencing any of those things. So it’s really about pulling back the veil to make it more of a human issue.” Says Alvar