Human trafficking awareness events to be held on campus

The Penn State Wilkes-Barre Administration of Justice baccalaureate degree program and the Students For Justice club are bringing two events to campus to raise awareness of human trafficking.

At 12:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, Penn State Wilkes-Barre students will be participating in The Red Sand Project. The Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork project that uses sidewalks, walkways and driveways to create opportunities for people to connect, question and raise awareness about the vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking. Victims of this crime are often invisible and are often at the greatest risk for falling through the cracks. This project has taken place in all 50 states and around the world. This event is open to the public – students are meeting outside of the Student Commons Building.

At noon Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the Barry Auditorium of the Nesbitt Academic Commons, a human trafficking seminar will be held. No matter where you live, work, or attend school, chances are that the crime of human trafficking is being committed nearby. It is happening every day right here in Northeast Pennsylvania. Human trafficking is called the invisible crime because it is all around, but a lot of us do not see it. We are unaware human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime activity in the United States, netting criminals a profit of over $32 billion every year. It has surpassed the illegal sale of arms and will surpass the illegal sale of drugs in the next few years. Unlike drugs, victims of human trafficking can be sold repeatedly. Vigilance and awareness are critical to reducing and eliminating human trafficking, and each one of us can make a difference by learning more about what it looks like and what to do when we see it.

Suzanne Beck, administration of justice adjunct faculty member, will be facilitating the seminar. Beck has been the executive director of Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley for the past 28 years. She serves as a board member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania Association of Sexual Assault Centers, the Lehigh County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, and the Lehigh County Stop Violence Against Women. Beck has also served as an Instructor at the Allentown Police Academy.  

Seminar panel participants include Chris Duncanson, Karen Galbraith, Angela Sperrazza and Michele Minor Wolf.

Chris Duncanson has been a special agent with the FBI since 2004. He is assigned to the Allentown, Pennsylvania, office and investigates a variety of criminal offenses including human trafficking and crimes against children.  In 2010, Duncanson investigated the first federal case of juvenile sex trafficking prosecuted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the FBI, he was a police officer in Middletown, New York. 

Karen Galbraith is the training projects coordinator at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. A licensed social worker, Galbraith has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of sexual violence, volunteering and working at both the local and state level. She has provided direct service to survivors and their families, and has facilitated trainings to criminal justice professionals, allied professionals, students, college campuses, and community members throughout the state. Galbraith has participated in numerous statewide advisory committees, including the Office of the Attorney General’s working group on campus sexual assault and the Pennsylvania Alliance Against Trafficking in Humans.  In addition to her work at PCAR, Galbraith is an adjunct professor in the Social Work Department at Shippensburg University, where she teaches about interpersonal violence. 

Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza is a graduate of Fordham University where she majored in political science and women’s studies.  Sperrazza then attended Widener University School of Law where she spent two years working for the YWCA Legal Center, focusing on legal representation for victims of domestic violence. Upon graduation Sperrazza worked for The Honorable Fred A. Pierantoni III in the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County.  Since 2013, she has been a full-time prosecutor in the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office where she is part of the Special Victim’s Unit, handling cases of sexual assault, child abuse and death by drug delivery.

Sperrazza is also solicitor for Hughestown Borough and since 2015, an Instructor at the Lackawanna Police Academy. She is vice president of the Wilkes-Barre Chapter of UNICO and serves as chair for the Miss UNICO pageant. Sperrazza is also currently the vice president of Pennsylvania State Police Troop P Camp Cadet, a nonprofit organization that provides children from the community the opportunity to spend a week in leadership and law enforcement training.

Michele Minor Wolf is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has lived in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, since 1997. Wolf obtained her bachelors of arts in psychology at Juniata College and her masters of arts in counseling psychology at Townson State University. She also completed the Non-profit Leadership Program through the University of Scranton, Kania School of Management. Wolf began working with victims of crime 28 years ago in Baltimore City. 

For the last 21 years she has worked as the executive director of Victims’ Intervention Program in Wayne County and has recently expanded VIP’s services into Pike County. Wolf has made it a priority that no matter how many administrative tasks come along with being an executive director, she still makes time to work directly with the folks they serve. In addition to participating on local community task forces, Wolf is an active member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. She is also an appointed commissioner to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and co-chairs the NEPA Regional Task Force Against Human Trafficking.