Clemson University launches sex trafficking research project

CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA)- In a new five-year, 1 million dollar project, Clemson University is working to find ways to put an end to human trafficking.

The University is partnering with other organizations to study ways to break the networking schemes of sex trafficking.

The end goal is to bring hope to victims, victims like Catherine Wilson.

Wilson was just 15 years old when she was forced into sex trafficking.

“You are no longer your own. What you wear, how you say it, what the color of your hair is. Everything belongs to someone else, and now you’re in prison,” Wilson describes.

She said it’s by the grace of God she was able to escape.

“I found the courage to able to walk out the front door and down the street and it was a rural area so it was a ways before the next house,” Wilson explained.

The collaborators in the project are drawing from law enforcement case files, stakeholder interviews, and guidance from sex-trafficking survivors, to gather data on trafficking.

Zaina Greene, Executive Director of SWITCH says these efforts are vital.

“There is not enough information right now on the gravity of how serious trafficking really is,” Greene explained.

Adding, the work Clemson and these organizations are doing will help the work they do at SWITCH.

“Anytime that we can do research to understand the gravity of the situation and how many lives are being effected, where the unmet needs are is just going to help all of us who are doing the work, know where to put our resources and time to,” Greene said.

There are ways to get help if you or one of your loved ones is facing this reality.

Catherine Wilson now is the head of a nonprofit called Stop Trafficking US. There are resources on her website. Click here.

There are also resources on WSPA under the Community Tab.

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