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Understanding Human Trafficking with Meghan Carton

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) television studios, UDCtv, provides the Washington, DC area with programming geared to foster health, political and environmental awareness.  Dr. Katherine Marshall Woods hosts this UDCtv show entitled “A Healthy Mind” featuring guests from a myriad of professions lending information to promote healthy living and lifestyles.  Entries entitled: “A Healthy […]

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The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) television studios, UDCtv, provides the Washington, DC area with programming geared to foster health, political and environmental awareness.  Dr. Katherine Marshall Woods hosts this UDCtv show entitled “A Healthy Mind” featuring guests from a myriad of professions lending information to promote healthy living and lifestyles.  Entries entitled: “A Healthy Mind” share these interviews.

A Set of A Healthy Mind, Picture by Edward Jones

On November 23, 2020, Meghan Carton, was invited onto the show to discuss and define human trafficking through sex and labor trafficking. Meghan has dedicated over 10 years with the government and providing public service stressing the importance of gender roles and civil rights. Meghan has trained thousands of law and code enforcements on how to recognize and respond to potential trafficking victims in culturally and trauma-informed ways. Meghan loves to explore new challenges and uses her background in analytics training/ learning, and diversity, equity and inclusion to help organizations become the best versions of themselves. 

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Dr. Marshall Woods: “Hello, I’m Dr. Katherine Marshall Woods, adjunct professor of psychology at the George Washington University, and your host for this edition of A Healthy Mind. The purpose of this video series is to educate and inform the public about mental health, from public policy and environmental factors, to the various disorders that affect healthy minds.”

“Though individuals commonly believe that slavery is a historic notion, human trafficking engages individuals in work circumstances that often include, violence, deceit, manipulation, and debt bondage.” 

“Within the 2019 trafficking of person’s report, John Cotton Richmond, the United States Ambassador at large, to monitor and combat trafficking in persons noted only a fraction of individuals victimized by trafficking, receives trauma-informed, victim centered support services. Meghan Carton is a founding board member of Collective Liberty, primarily serving as a subject matter expert on policy and strategy. Mrs. Carton has over a decade of experience with government and public service. Most recently, she served as a specialist at the Polaris Project, where she focused on working with city and state legislators to craft new or updated legislation to target businesses loopholes that allowed trafficking venues to flourish. Training over 500 regulatory enforcement officers on improving cultural competency and spotting reacting to potential trafficking situations and raising community awareness about this issue by providing print and video media interviews.”

“Mrs. Carton currently serves as the Deputy Director of the District Alliance for Safe Housing, DASH. A non-profit in Washington, DC area that serves as an innovator in providing access to safe housing to and services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence; and their families as they rebuild their lives on their terms. She is passionate about highlighting the intersections and commonalities between domestic violence and different types of trafficking; and ensuring the fields can learn from one another in terms of cultural competency, field and community building and system change. Welcome!”

Meghan Carton: “Thank you!”

Dr. Marshall Woods: “Human trafficking, let’s start with the definition. What is human trafficking exactly?

Meghan Carton: “So our formal definition on the federal level is force, fraud, and coercion, which, a little difficult. But, what it means is you’re either looking at two types, sex trafficking or labor trafficking. The two can often intertwine, but, it’s really important to understand that an element of force; so, we’re talking physical force, but also the threat of physical force. Some people have this image, I blame a lot of different movies for it, but there’s right, one’s like Batman versus Superman, Batman goes into save these women that are literally locked in a dungeon cage in the basement and that’s not often the form of physical violence. It can often be ‘I’m scared something is going to happen to me.’ ‘I’m scared something is going to happen to my family.’ We also are talking fraud, so you mentioned deceit, absolutely. False job advertisements, but also false promises of what’s going to happen in that job. For instance, maybe I think I’m coming here to be a nanny and I’m going to work 8 hours a day and get to go to school at night; and instead I’m working 20 hours a day 7 days a week, and making absolutely no money.”

“When we talk about coercion you might hear things like ‘If you just do this thing, it’ll be ok,’ you know, ‘Everyone’s doing it’, ‘it’s going to happen.’ We’re thinking maybe peer pressure is probably the best way to understand coercion; but peer pressure with a lot of twisted psychological elements to it. And, it can really involve anyone, we’re talking American citizens, we’re talking immigrants; and I think it’s important for people to understand we’re talking immigrants it’s many people who think they’re coming here legally, who want to come here for a legal job and often because of that fraud and deceit, wind up not. And so, there’s that extra element of, ‘I thought I was doing all the right things to come live the American Dream, and now I’m not.’”

 “And, we’ve got just as many American citizens, yes that can involve children, but it also can involve adults, whether that’s sex trafficking or labor trafficking; I’m just trying to survive. And instead, what’s really happening is it’s the power of people to exploit others. It’s really, I have found, the people who, we can give them the nice name traffickers, but let’s call them what they really are, they are modern day slaveholders and really they no ability to see the other person as human.”

Please visit https://youtu.be/KM44TbovAS4 to see the remaining portion of this interview. 

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