One of the nation’s first undergraduate courses on human trafficking is taught in Ohio.
Anthony “Tony” Talbott, of Dayton, OH joined the military and served 13 years in both the Army National Guard and the U.S. Navy. His time in the military introduced him into the world of trapped lives.
While serving overseas, Talbott first encountered human trafficking, though he did not truly understand what was happening around him. Forced labor, child labor, forced prostitution, child sex tourism, poverty and desperation—it all created the motivation for his human rights advocacy today.
In 2012, an estimated 5.5 million children were enslaved, according to International Labour Organization.
“Human trafficking is the modern day slave trade ... it is a commercial crime—someone is benefiting economically from the criminal exploitation of a vulnerable person,” Talbott said. “It is a very serious violation of human rights.”
While finishing his tour of duty, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Columbia College.
After he was discharged from the service, he earned a master’s degree in international affairs and a doctorate in political science from Arizona State University.
Talbott has taught political science and human rights at the University of Dayton since 2007. He began teaching a human trafficking specific course in 2010.
“[There is] initially shock, surprise, outrage, anger, sadness [in my students]. Then determination and hopefulness as we jointly develop and implement concrete actions that they take,” Talbott said.
The course offered Talbot focuses a service-learning course on anti-human trafficking advocacy in areas such as:
Where students learn about human trafficking from local to global levels
Definitions incoportated with trafficking
Dtatistics of human trafficking
Laws and policies
Who is involved in the industry
Different ways of framing and responding to the issue
Awareness-raising and advocacy strategies
Methods to researching the issue
Both sex and labor trafficking are covered and students design and implement an advocacy campaign through applied research.
“I’ve always been concerned with justice and fairness. I’ve always wanted to protect the weak—especially children,” Talbott said. My travels in Asia and Africa while in the Navy exposed me to suffering of others. I began sharing this with students almost as soon as I began teaching.”
Talbott lectures at many colleges and universities and speaks regularly on issues dealing with human trafficking and human rights throughout Ohio and across the U.S.
He is a principle investigator on several local, state, and national research projects dealing with human trafficking.