Human trafficking is an issue of critical concern for the Sisters of Mercy, and January is a national month of awareness on the subject. In simplest terms, human trafficking is the forceful dealing of human beings into sexual exploits or labor forces. As one of three Sisters of Mercy sponsored ministries in Cedar Rapids, Mount Mercy University embraces every opportunity to fold the Sisters’ critical concern into student and community enlightenment.
During 2013, the university hosted lunch-and-learn sessions in partnership with local law enforcement, presented public and classroom lectures featuring sociologists and a justice team from the Sisters of Mercy, and adopted the issue as a graduate-level class project leading to great strides for local advocacy.
In the November-December block, Mount Mercy MBA students in the Managerial Marketing course educated peers on the heinous act of human trafficking. Through their research journey, many students desired to do more and joined with retired Sr. Emily Devine and Sr. Mary K. Doughn along with other community and campus advocates in advancing Sisters and Brothers Collaborating Against Trafficking (SBCAT), a Cedar Rapids-based group aimed at raising awareness.
“Not only did students learn through their research project,” states Deb Oliver, director of Mount Mercy MBA graduate programs, “but they became deeper advocates against the crime by working with Sisters and Brothers Collaborating Against Trafficking. Their involvement has sparked a more profound interest in taking a stand against trafficking, especially among their peers.”
The university will continue to offer educational opportunities for both students and the public throughout 2014.