Top L-R: Tiffany Hull, Susan Letsch, Tamara Dean, Kaitlyn Werner, EmIly VanDonselaar, Presley Shumate, Bailey Meissner Bottom L-R: Brittany Garling, Jolee Linden, Becca Frantz, Jacob Jensen, Mike Walker

Top L-R: Tiffany Hull, Susan Letsch, Tamara Dean, Kaitlyn Werner, EmIly VanDonselaar, Presley Shumate, Bailey Meissner Bottom L-R: Brittany Garling, Jolee Linden, Becca Frantz, Jacob Jensen, Mike Walker

April 16, 2018

Ten Buena Vista University students participated in an Alternative Week of Off-site Learning trip to Atlanta during spring break, enabling them to volunteer their time and service with a focus on human trafficking. 

The participants served with a variety of causes, including 4Sarah, a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower change in the life direction of women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking by offering a holistic approach. 

Throughout the week, the group had the opportunity to interact with women who have been trafficked and with victims who are currently in the industry that need additional assistance escaping. 

Tiffany Hull, a senior criminology/criminal justice and psychology double major from Perry, said she was able to apply classroom knowledge by day two of the experience, when the group had the chance to investigate and help women who are in the human trafficking industry. 

“That day, some members of our group found a sex trafficking ring, and we had the opportunity to report it to the local FBI unit which was pretty amazing,” said Hull, who was one of the student site leaders. 

Others students who participated in the human trafficking AWOL trip were Presley Shumate, a senior business, accounting, and Spanish triple major from Milo; Jolee Linden, a sophomore English major from Le Mars; Emily Van Donselaar, a junior social work major from New Sharon; Jacob Jensen, a senior business major from Badger; Becca Frantz, a sophomore criminology/criminal justice and political science double major from Des Moines; Kaitlyn Werner, a junior social work major from Manchester; Bailie Meissner, a junior exercise science major from Manchester; Susan

Letsch, a senior social work and criminology/criminal justice double major from Le Mars; and Tamara Dean, a sophomore biomedical science major from Red Oak. 

“I am now able to picture what the industry of sex and human trafficking looks like,” added Hull. “I also got to see how the organizations we worked with have impacted women’s lives and hear amazing testimonies that will stick with me forever.” 

Advisors for this experience were Mike Walker, university counselor for BVU’s Office of Student Affairs; and Brittany Garling, assistant professor of education at BVU.