Enslaved: experiencing modern-day human trafficking at Colorado State

Zara DeGroot

Senior English major Hannah Polland discusses the event with the Director of Community Outreach for Life for the Innocent, Shelby Houser. (Photo credit: Mattie Whaley)
Senior English major Hannah Polland discusses the event with the Director of Community Outreach for Life for the Innocent, Shelby Houser. (Photo credit: Mattie Whaley)

To highlight a product made without slave labor, Honest Tea was handed out around campus this week in promotion for Enslaved: A Modern Day Slavery Experience.

“Honest Tea is both fair-trade and organic, and we want to highlight a product that does not use slave labor in its production, and relate to the public that they can buy things that aren’t slave-labor made,” said Katie Dirsmith, a senior biomedical science major and the volunteer coordinator of Enslaved.

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The first day of Enslaved: A Modern Day Slavery Experience, was held in the Lory Student Center North ballroom Thursday. The event was hosted by No More Injustice, a human rights group that hosts a series of simulation events to bring light to issues regarding social injustices, like human trafficking.

The interactive event consists of a simulation that participants walk through to experience what it is like being a modern-day slave and witness the helplessness and isolation that many trafficked people feel. Following the simulation, there is a facilitated discussion hosted by the CSU Center for Public Deliberation. There is also a resource fair for students who want to get involved with anti-trafficking organizations. Counselors are on site and on-call during the event.

Joanna Godina, a junior sociology major and volunteer for Enslaved, became involved this year after hearing about the event through her classmates. She said the problem with human trafficking in America is due to the modernization and industrialization within our society.

After the simulation tour groups gather to discuss their ideas and thoughts about the simulation and human trafficking with volunteers Brian Waugh and Katie Paterson. Each person in the group gets a sticky note to write down their impressions of human trafficking and what resonated with them from the simulation. (Photo credit: Mattie Whaley)
After the simulation tour, groups gather to discuss their ideas and thoughts about the simulation and human trafficking with volunteers Brian Waugh and Katie Paterson. Each person in the group gets a sticky note to write down their impressions of human trafficking and what resonated with them from the simulation. (Photo credit: Mattie Whaley)

“We identify ourselves with the materialistic stuff, and through that we are alienating ourselves from everything else and we are slowly losing our humanity and our relationships and our genuine connections,” Godina said. “We have more of a objective and alienating culture and it is creating more false relationships, and we are losing that value in those morals that we used to have.”

Adam Dissonnette, a freshman criminal justice major, volunteered for the event for the first time this year. He heard about the opportunity through the involvement fair and decided to volunteer his time for this cause. He said human trafficking is an international problem.

“When I was in Amsterdam, I saw first hand the effects of prostitution and the domestic abuse that arises from that,” Dissonnette said. “Here in America you can see plenty of the same things with sweat shop labor. It’s a disgusting cycle and I’m glad people are working (to get rid) of it.”

Enslaved will continue until Friday in the LSC North Ballroom from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free and drop-in for the 16+ public.

Collegian reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @zar_degroot