Student Human Trafficking Data Project Moves to Statewide Effort
The Rapid Innovation student project team included (top row, from left) Haelie Egbert, Edina Kovacs and Maddie Young and (bottom row, from left) Elijah Baker and Sarah Handau.
By Joan Slattery Wall
Endeavors to combat human trafficking can face barriers related to its nature as a hidden crime. Advocates for change look for variables that could increase identification of people at risk in order to address underlying problems.
Students in a John Glenn College of Public Affairs course last year developed a framework for tracking the risk factors that is now in development for implementation at the state level.
Maddie Young, former Rapid Innovation for Public Impact course student
Maddie Young signed up for the Rapid Innovation for Public Impact course, created and taught by Elizabeth Newton, director of the Glenn College’s Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy, as an elective for her degree in industrial and systems engineering.
“During my time at OSU, I enjoyed the challenges that came with taking classes that would have normally been out of my comfort zone,” said Young, who graduated in 2022 and this summer started a position as analyst, cyber operations professional, at Nationwide. “This course in ‘Rapid Innovation’ sounded like a challenge in problem solving. I had selected the human trafficking topic for a project because it was a topic I wasn't familiar with, but it seemed like a project that would have an impact on, potentially, hundreds of people in Ohio.”
Christi Scott Bartman, Glenn College Instructor and Director of Eyes Up Appalachia
Glenn College instructor Christi Scott Bartman, director of Eyes Up Appalachia, an anti-human trafficking initiative operated through the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio as their fiscal agent, was asked to be a problem sponsor for the course. She requested that the spring 2021 team devise a way to identify populations in Appalachian Ohio who are at risk for trafficking.
“It’s difficult to establish prevalence numbers of people trafficked. But there are a consistent group of risk factors that make someone more vulnerable, including drug use, runaways, poverty, interaction with more than one government service such as children services, etc., and those numbers are public knowledge,” Bartman said. “If I can map those vulnerabilities in specific counties, I can direct resources, prevention efforts and programming work to areas where they will be more effective.”