GC Psychology professor Regan Lookadoo, coordinator of the Kentucky Conference on Human Trafficking

Georgetown, KY – The Modern Day Slavery project started by Psychology professor Regan Lookadoo and other faculty and staff a year ago may be the most galvanizing effort the Georgetown College campus has ever seen. To be sure, this movement is making GC a more caring, socially-conscious institution.

Students have become increasingly drawn to GC’s Student Abolitionist Movement (SAM) chapter as they heard about and attended the many films and events on campus – including last year’s “Not for Sale” tour stop here. Discussions of human trafficking and fair trade issues are being introduced in a wide variety of classes. And, a generous grant from the Jenzabar Foundation last July has given “legs” to the MDS project for at least two more years.

The Kentucky Conference on Human Trafficking, March 23-24, the first such statewide effort, is bringing a number of national as well as regional speakers to campus – including Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, the sponsor of House Bill 350, which would strengthen human-trafficking laws. It passed the Kentucky House 90-0 on March 2.

Acting upon the timeliness of HB 350, Lookadoo has a number of ways the conference will give attendees the tools to become advocates against human trafficking. “This an important bill for Kentucky because not only does it provide stricter fines and penalties to traffickers in our state and more resources to trafficked victims but it also emphasizes that trafficking is a problem in the Commonwealth,” she said. “So often this issue is confused as one facing people who live in other countries and yet the reality is trafficking takes place right here in our own communities.”

In part to attract those who aren’t so well-versed on the issues, coordinator Lookadoo, has booked the Peter Mayer Group for a pre-conference concert at 7 p.m., Thursday (March 22) in John L. Hill Chapel. (Parrot Heads Alert!) Mayer, who also happens to be Jimmy Buffet’s guitarist, is known to be issue-oriented. You may reserve concert tickets through the GC bookstore at 502-863-8134 for $18 or purchase at the door that evening for $20. Children, students, and conference attendees get in for $7, in advance and at the door. 

Carrie Cook and a number of Lookadoo’s faculty colleagues, whose names appear in parentheses, have been key in pulling together appealing side events such as: a Fair Trade Market from 8-10 p.m., Friday (Rebecca Singer and Alison Jackson Wood); a 5K run at 8 a.m., Saturday (Jonathan Sands-Wise  and Bryan Langlands);  and a showing of the film “Playground” at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Lookadoo is very excited about the interactive exhibits that junior

Katie Sanders, leader of GC’s Student Abolitionist Movement chapter, and several members of SAM have created on the second floor of the Ensor Learning Resource Center for the conference. The exhibits will raise awareness of issues related to both sex and labor trafficking through creative, interactive methods.

She said, “For example, conference attendees will have the opportunity to carry a bucket of tomatoes and imagine doing so multiple times a day like trafficked labor workers are forced to do in tomato farms across the country. This exhibit will include statistics and facts about labor trafficking of citrus and produce workers in the US.”

Attendees will exit the exhibit with the opportunity to sign a petition to local grocers requesting fair trade produce options. These exhibits will also include direct actions attendees can take to combat human trafficking.

Look for a hand display at the exhibits produced by Art professor Daniel Graham. Lookdadoo said, this will encourage attendees to reflect upon changes that they can make to better support trafficking victims and prevent trafficking in their world and communities. This reflection will continue into a meditation room where the Campus Ministry team will have highlighted religions from around the world that emphasize the need for justice and love of all people.

To register for the conference or 5K, or to buy t-shirts and/or “Playground” film tickets, please email Dr. Regan Lookadoo, Conference Chair at Regan_Lookadoo@georgetowncollege.edu. Online registration has been removed because of technical problems. If you have questions you may call her at 502.863.8165.

For more on the Modern Day Slavery project at Georgetown College, read the 2011 Winter-Spring issue cover story in Insights magazine and Dr. Lookadoo’s summary and plans for the project at this date.