Video by Emily Walker
STOP Faculty Advisor
Dr. Janja Lalich is a Sociology professor at California State University, Chico. Her expertise is focused in cultic behavior. Lalich's decision to specialize in the study of cultic groups was prompted by her 11-year experience as a member of a radical political cult, the Democratic Workers Party.
Her past experiences in social movement groups lead her to teach Social Movements, offered in the sociology department at Chico State. Students of Lalich’s Social Movements class formed STOP in Spring of 2008.
STOP Co-faculty Advisor
Kate Transchel is a professor in the history department at California State University, Chico. In 1998, Transchel began researching sex trafficking after becoming increasingly interested and aware of its massive devastation. Being a historian, she came across it while doing research and continued to pursue learning about it.
After spending the next few years doing research, she decided to become fluent in Russian, in order to speak directly to the women in Eastern Europe.
In 2005, she made her first trip to Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe, to interview the women that had been rescued from the brothels.
“What was needed was for someone to hear their stories,” Transchel said. “And it broke my heart.”
While interviewing these women, Transchel heard traumatizing stories. She discovered a young girl who had been trafficked. The girl, along with the other girls in the brothel, all had their teeth bashed out with a hammer by their traffickers.
They did this because it made the women “better for oral sex,” Transchel said.
There was one girl, she interviewed, who actually escaped from the brothels. Something that is nearly impossible to do in the first place.
After escaping, the girl ran to the police station where a policeman took her back the brothel. As his reward, he was allowed to rape her “free of charge” for an entire week.
The majority of police and government officials, in Eastern Europe, are not only helping the traffickers to get away with their crimes, but they are also clients. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of the police deny that sex trafficking even exists.
Meet Courtney Hudson. Courtney is a Sociology major with minors in Diversity and International Studies. Her interest in human trafficking was sparked when Kate Transchel gave a presentation in her International Studies class.
Courtney's goals for the club this year include increasing on-campus awareness, growing the involvement of men in the organization, and reaching out to the local community to promote awareness and action.
Courtney says that “being involved with the largest and most extensive student-run conference at Chico State is an incredibly empowering experience. It gives me confidence in my ability to have an impact on important issues both here and abroad. I've found it so rewarding to be a part of a movement within my community that spreads awareness of human trafficking and slavery.”
Upon graduation Courtney plans to join the Peace Corps. Her intention is to utilize her experience with STOP to assist efforts in developing nations to both combat human trafficking and support victims.