Deanna McPherson had heard about human trafficking, but it wasn’t until watching a movie about the issue that her eyes were fully opened. As she heard about human trafficking cases in the news, she began to research the issue. And, after moving to Washington D.C., Deanna joined a group called DC Stop Modern Slavery (DC SMS).
“I felt I was finally able to be part of a group of folks interested in learning about human trafficking and who wanted to do more [about it],” Deanna said.
Deanna became Chair of the Book Club for DC SMS and discussed books like The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam, and A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner. Deanna traveled to Cambodia with World Hope International as part of their Hope Corps and has since given presentations on the experience. Deanna has served as a grant reviewer for an anti-human trafficking program, and she presently volunteers with a faith-based anti-human trafficking organization in Washington D.C.
Cheryl Moses, a friend of Deanna’s and an MSW-Candidate at Howard University, was asked by her Student Council Association for the School of Social Work to present on a relevant topic. Aware of Deanna’s interest and passion in the area of human trafficking, Cheryl invited her friend to present on the topic. In turn, Deanna invited survivor Shamere Mckenzie and myself to present. Deanna recognized the importance of survivor participation, and so I was happy to accept.
I was flat out exhausted by the time I reached Howard University for the presentation, but it was a positive experience and I’m glad I was able to meet Deanna and Cheryl and present alongside Shamere.
When asked about her thoughts on the event, Deanna said, “I think the best outcomes of that night were [the survivor] stories; providing insights for social workers (and having a good dialogue about it); and, as always, spreading awareness.”
I hope Deanna’s story inspires others to volunteer in the fight against human trafficking. If you would like to contact Deanna, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the event at Howard University, please read Alyson Pierce’s article entitled, School of Social Work Sheds Light on Human Trafficking, in The Hilltop: the Student Voice of Howard University.