Monday, Jan. 23, the Bowers Writers House held its first event of the spring semester. The event, titled “A National Horror: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” with Dr. Susan Mapp, focused on the harsh reality of sex trafficking in the United States.
Director of Bowers Writers House Jesse Waters said that this topic is one of “great importance,” and he was glad Mapp was opening the season.
Mapp is a professor of Social Work at Elizabethtown College, as well as the Department Chair for the Social Work Department. As a professor, she specializes in human trafficking, international social work, violations of children’s rights and program evaluation.
Mapp has written numerous books focused on the issues of human rights. The books are “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking,” “Human Rights and Social Justice in a Global Perspective: An Introduction to International Social Work” and “Global Child Welfare and Well-being.”
Mapp has also written many book chapters and articles about child welfare, women’s rights, human trafficking and how war affects children.
She has attended numerous national and international conventions at which she presents her work involving human rights. In addition to being a professor, Mapp is on the Board of Directors of the Council on Social Work Education. She is also co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.
Mapp was discussing her most recent book, “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking,” at the event.
In the book, Mapp discusses the different forms of sex trafficking in the United States, as well as the stereotypes presented by the media about sex trafficking.
She decided to write the book in 2012 after she realized many people did not know about the issue and that there was not enough conversation or scholarly literature about it.
As part of her research, she reached out to law enforcement in Central Pennsylvania. She found many of the officers she spoke with had little or no training about how to deal with human trafficking and its victims.
Many told her most of their knowledge of the issue came from the media and movies such as “Taken.”
Mapp also noticed that until 2000, there were no laws dealing with human trafficking. The only laws in the books dealt with slavery. The new laws define the different ways human trafficking occurs and specify the different stages in which trafficking takes place.
The stages are the Act, the way the victim is transported, transferred and harbored; the Means, be it through force, deceit or coercion; and the Purpose, the type of work the victim will be performing which can be labor or sexual acts.
As well as the laws, Mapp discusses the social aspects and recruitment styles of human trafficking in her book. During the discussion on recruiters, an audience member asked whether or not traffickers are being registered in the same way as sex offenders.
Mapp explained that so far many traffickers are still in prison and there are currently no laws to answer the question.
Mapp urged the audience to call their representatives about Senate Bill 554; this Bill deals with the actions taken for recovered minors who are survivors of human trafficking. The Bill would be the first Pennsylvania State Harbor law for victims. It currently has not been passed.
Much of the content from the book came from interviews and cases from clinicians who help human trafficking survivors. The content was recorded by Mapp and transcribed for the text.
Mapp explained that the jobs of these therapists are “hard work” and she “wouldn’t [personally] want to do [it].” To help survivors cope with their trauma is a delicate process and requires the survivor to have a great deal of trust in the therapist.
Mapp wrote the book for anyone to read. It was “written for first-year students right out of high school” to be able to understand. She also avoided using technical terms while writing.
The book is available in the High Library, as well as on Amazon. Mapp encourages students to read the book, so that they will become more educated on the topic.