Look around, human trafficking impacts every region

By Katie Cantrell

Transcript Correspondent


Human trafficking is not a distant problem, it’s happening right here in the heart of one of the most affluent regions in Ohio.

That blunt message was delivered by Carol O’Brien, an Ohio deputy attorney general for law enforcement, and Maj. Christy Utley, of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, in the latest Great Decisions lecture at William Street United Methodist Church on Friday. The theme: Labor Trafficking: Global Problem/Local Impact.

 O’Brien opened up the lecture for 68 attendees, focusing on how many people are in denial about this issue, especially in this region.

“It happens here. It happened here in Worthington, it happened in Powell. Powell, Ohio, you know the fastest growing bedroom community in the country,” O’Brien said. “One of the highest per capita income and wealth areas in the country and we had human trafficking.”

O’Brien posed a question to the audience about where they think then went on to talk about where most of the labor trafficking occurs in the U.S. Some , audience members guessed either online, others  or in agriculture. While that is true in some cases, O’Brien pointed to another well-visited spot.

“How many of you get your nails done?” she askedO’Brien posed to the audience. 

Nail salons it turns out are one of the premiere premiere spots for methods of labor trafficking, she said.

But online, many of the so-called  in the United States. There are quite a few human trafficking schemes floating around online, but it turns out that they are not accurate, including one scenario where someone finds their .car’s  O’Brien mentions one of these schemes during her lecture. 

“How many of you have heard or seen online the ‘your windshield wipers tied are tied together with a zip tie and then snatch a person when they emerge from the car, she said.

“if you get out to your car and you go to take it off they’re gonna swoop in and steal you’? That’s a lie,” O’Brien said. “ that’s never really no one I have ever talked to has ever heard of that happening. When you hear stories like that know that most of them are not true.  Aa majority of girls and boys who are lured into human trafficking are lured, they’re not forced into human trafficking.” said O’Brien. 

During the lecture O’Brien and Utley talked about two separate cases involving human or labor trafficking they each dealt with during their careers. O’Brien said she dealt with a human trafficking case when during her time as ashe was a prosecutor in Delaware several years ago related to that had a massage parlor in Powell. An , Ohio at the center of the case. A letter was anonymous letter ly given to the police said stating that the Chinese girls at the massage parlor never left the premises, had food is always brought to in for them and were forced to provide “m, the men that frequent there often talk about things like ‘happy endings” ’ to the men who frequented the parlor. 

The tip was proven correct and that the police should look into the massage parlor. With police surveillance that included careful surveillance of the massage parlor, and even dumpster diving of the parlor’s garbage., it was determined that the anonymous tip was correct, the women never left and this was indeed a case of human trafficking. 

Major Christy Utley focused on a complicated and extensive case of a spoke mainly about the labor trafficking ring case at a Marion-area egg farm that began in 2014. The case didn’t end she was involved in during her half of the lecture. She started off by saying cases like this are complicated and extensive, the investigation for her case started in 2014 and was not completed until 2016.  In smaller rural communities, it is Part of the reason why cases in smaller areas like this are complicated is because it is difficult to establish surveillance in an area where everybody knows everybody.  

“NAnytime that I’ve ever done surveillance at Indian Trails trailer park as soon as I pull in, no matter what car I’m in, no matter if I have a hat on, face mask whatever, they know that we’re in the trailer park and by the time you make it to the back everybody knows there’s a car there that’s not supposed to be there,” said Major Utley said.

In the Marion case, when the Guatemalan Whenever the men, women and Guatemalan children were not working at the egg farms, they were kept at the trailer park. They were picked up by a van early in the morning and driven t, get loaded up into a van and drive to the egg farm where they , they would worked all day before they were loaded back up and taken at the egg farm and after they were finished they would load up back into the van and go back to the trailer park. 

Investigators eventually discovered When they finally had enough grounds for a search warrant and were able to make entry into the trailers they were a mess. The trailers had anywhere from seven 7 to 15 people living in per trailer, each overrun with roaches and with there was no running water and there was roaches everywhere. 

Both Major Utley’s and O’Brien’s cases had a bit of a language barrier since the victims were either from Guatemala or China. A majority of the victims in O’Brien’s case were in the United States legally and were able to stay in the country after being freed. Meanwhile, a majority of the victims of labor trafficking in Major Utley’s case were not in the U.S. legally and were later deported, however a few were able to remain in the states. 

Neither of O’Brien or Utley’s these cases would have been investigated if it were not for public the tips that authorities received from the public. 

“That’s a big thing in our society today, is people don’t tell. If you see something, say something,” Utley said. “. You can say something without giving your name, if you give an anonymous tip you truly are anonymous.” said Major Utley.

Many of those in attendance at the lecture now have increased their knowledge about the subject of human trafficking. Attendee 

One of the attendants Norman Snook, a resident of Delaware, said the lecture was enlightening and enjoyed this week’s Great Decisions lecture. 

“TIt was very informative the investigations that they were reporting gave some grounding to the theory in a sense, but I thought the information, even on the screens, was very helpful in terms of the laws and how they expressed what they said really,” said Snook said. 

Julie Richey recently moved , to Delaware and said she ’s newest inhabitants, learned a lot about her new home quite a few things about the area in and around Delaware during the lecture.

“I like how this whole Great Decisions discussion series pulls locals into localizing the topic that is often talked about internationally, in the book that goes with this series” said Richey said.

Barbara Adams, also  citizen of Delaware, said she found the lecture to be a welcome source of information for a very important subject. 

“It was great,” she said. “ This is something that we need to really talk about in a forum or otherwise just talking about it is good. I think we all need to know more about the subject and it was good that it was presented today.”

U.S. immigration policy was open hand, now closed fist

Hailey de la Vera

Transcript Correspondent


One of President Donald Trump’s major campaign promises turned into policy has been to limit undocumented immigrants from coming into the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.

And while the number of Mexican immigrants has slowed, since 2013 the number of people coming from the Northern Triangle of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – has increased dramatically.

Erinn Nicley, a political science professor at Western Governors University, who has studied in the Northern Triangle, kicked off the Great Decisions 2020 weekly lecture series Friday at the William Street United Methodist Church.  He focused on the history of U.S. intervention in these countries, along with major challenges for our foreignrelations and the current migration situation.

Nicley started with a question to the audience: “Who do we want to be as people in our relationship with our central American neighbors? Do we address this in Central America, here at home, or do we simply look the other way?”

Nicley said Trump revoked President Obama’s immigration policy, moving from an open hand to a closed fist. But U.S. relations must find the balance between development, immigration and security programs for change to occur, he said.

Since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 laid the groundwork for expansion, the U.S. has intervened in Central American by actively helping overthrow governments, defending authoritarian rulers and abusive military operations, funding right-wing paramilitary groups and turning a blind eye to the commission of human-rights atrocities, Nicley explained.

The modern-day experience of the Northern Triangle relies on three conditions: political, economic and social life. Often these countries are enveloped in weak political institutions and driven by corrupt political leaders.  Furthermore, the countries gross domestic product rates are the lowest in the Western Hemisphere and they lack a middle class, he said.

Due to these factors, the countries “become a breeding ground for crime,” Nicely said. He also suggested “we take partnership to improve the quality of life for the Northern Triangle countries.”

During Obama’s administration, the U.S. allowed immigrants into America who came from broken homes or who sought escape in the wake of natural disasters. Ever since the Great Recession in 2008, the number of Mexican immigrants has decreased, but there has been a drastic increase in Northern Triangle immigration. However, Trump instituted a zero tolerance policy, which has changed the immigration flow.

In the past, immigration from the Northern Triangle was made up of single males emigrating for better opportunities. Presently, entire families and unaccompanied minors search for a better life in the U.S. due to the global belief in the “American Dream,” but many are stopped at the border, Nicley said.

Last week’s presentation marked the 40th anniversary of the Great Decision series and the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters, said Corinne Lyman, a retired politics and government professor at OWU,who organized the lecture series.

The topic for the Friday, Feb. 21, discussion is “Artificial Intelligence and Data” featuring David Staley, associate history professor and director of The Humanities Institute, The Ohio State University.

Embrace the “o” of your own personal potential

Tiffany Moore

Transcript Correspondent


For many, the Hollywood sign is simply a famous Los Angeles landmark, but for a performer who appeared at Ohio Wesleyan Monday night, those o’s in the sign represent personal potential.

Tim Miller, who has taken his solo act around the world, likens those letters to Shakespeare’s notion of making the most out of theatre space, like the Globe Theatre of London built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s theater company and known as “The Wooden O.”

Shakespeare’s goal was to have his audience forget their surroundings as they immersed themselves in a play. Miller made a similar pitch, issuing a call to action for about 40 in the captivated audience at OWU’s Chappelear Drama Center to claim their potential.

In a presentation of his written works, Miller explored racism, homophobia and the fight for a better future. He also discussed his autobiography, “A body in the O” and sold signed copies at the end of his performance.

“I don’t want them to just listen to my story, I want them to be thinking of what’s a story like that, that [they’ve] felt in [their] life and if they got it then, maybe they’ll start telling it to other people or maybe that becomes a deeper knowledge of their own life,” Miller said in an interview.

A lot of Miller’s work focuses on marriage equality and the injustices that same-sex couples face in this country. Miller said his next goal is to bring more awareness to the climate crisis.

“I’m old enough that it may not affect me as much, but it’s going to affect you much more and it’ll affect someone whose four years old now more than you,” Miller said. “The idea of 100 years from now people not having this beautiful planet working, or just whole parts of the world being uninhabitable is pretty … what a horrible thing to have not done everything we could.”

Miller’s performance was filled with thought provoking moments, putting the audience on the edge of their seats as they listened to stories from the perspective of both a young and older gay male struggling to survive in a society where homophobia is ubiquitous.

OWU sophomore Aaron Eicher said, “It was cool to see and also made me think about what a performance is because it was just storytelling for an hour, but it still captivated you.”

OWU senior Ran Ye said, “I don’t have any of his experiences so he reminds me of a lot of new things … because something comes up in my mind and I haven’t thought about that before.”

Miller began performing at OWU in 2008. Most of his visits included workshops, working with about 20 students in writing an hour long piece of work over the course of one week. His latest performance was funded by the OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant program.

Another power crash across campus

Azmeh Talha

Transcript Editor


Power outages across Ohio Wesleyan’s campus yesterday interrupted schedules and shuttered some dining halls, forcing some faculty and students to find a Plan B for classes and meals.

Connection problems between Selby Stadium West and East caused the power to go out at about 8:45 a.m. and fluctuate throughout the midday.  OWU’s power also crashed during the fall semester.

The problem was the equivalent of a blown fuse, said Cole Hatcher, OWU’s director of media and community relations.

The process of testing different connections to determine which ones were stable caused the power to fluctuate. The root cause of the problem was discovered on the east side of the stadium, Hatcher said.

The west side of Selby Stadium consists of OWU’s sports teams’ lockers and the east side is for visiting sports teams.

The power outage occurred on the central and academic side of campus. Dining facilities in both these areas were closed down as a result.

Michele Nobel, Director of the Special Education Program and Assistant Professor of Education had an advanced theatre class from Dublin Coffman High School come to OWU to perform on the day of the power outage. The performance was supposed to take place in the auditorium in Phillips Hall but could not due to lack of power and light. The performance was then moved to classroom 210 in Phillips Hall.

The change of venue was not easy, Nobel said.

“They had to carry their set pieces up the stairs instead of the elevator,” Nobel said.

The Hamilton Williams Campus Center Food Court and Bishop Café were temporarily closed and the Science Center Café was closed all day, according to an email from AVI. The Thomson Corner Store, Merrick Café and Smith Dining Hall remained open all day.

Reese Fuchs, a pizza maker in Ham-Will Food Court, said workers had to scramble.

“We had to put all the food in safety areas so that it didn’t go bad and we had to close down for a little bit,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs said some students were upset the food court was closed.

But Hatcher said AVI did a good job of getting information out on Facebook.

Transcript welcomes new staff for the spring 2020 semester

The Transcript is pleased to announce its new staff for the spring 2020 semester

Azmeh Talha: Editor, aatalha@owu.edu

Erin Ross: Online Design Editor, emross@owu.edu

Hailey de la Vara: Arts and Entertainment Editor, Social Media Editor, hhdelava@owu.edu

Peter Lujan: Sports Editor, pllujan@owu.edu

Jacey Scheffel: Photographer, jsscheff@owu.edu

Tiffany Moore: Staff reporter, tpmoore@owu.edu

Katie Cantrell: Staff reporter, kmcantre@owu.edu

Alex Emerson: Staff reporter, aaemerso@owu.edu

TC Brown: Faculty Adviser, tcbrown@owu.edu

The staff hope to serve the Ohio Wesleyan University community to the best of its ability.

Mock Convention Kicks Off

By Anna Edmiston

Staff Reporter


Planning started Thursday for Ohio Wesleyan’s long-time tradition of holding a political convention leading to the presidential election in November 2020.

Next year, Mock Conventioneers will play the role of Democrats deciding on a candidate to represent the party in the general election. The Mock Convention always assumes the role of the party that doesn’t occupy the White House. It started in 1884.

Attendees meeting in Crider Lounge in Hamilton-Williams Student Center watched the third debate of Democratic candidates while eating catered food and learning about the roles students and the Delaware community will play in the Mock Convention, which will occur Feb. 21 and 22.

There were tables set up to help students register to vote, play interactive games, and ask questions of student leaders of the program.

“I’m pretty excited for the fact that (politics) will be in an attainable level and it will help with my understanding of how politics works,” said freshman S.K. Bulander.

Freshman Josie Fornara agreed. “I am excited about learning more about politics and participating in the American tradition,” said Fornara.

“Being able to be a part of something that only happens every four years and being able to work alongside such amazing people,” said sophomore ZannaLee Carling-Sprewell.

Danielle Black, vice president of Mock Convention, said, “I am most excited to be involved in the planning of it, to allow people to learn more about the politics of our country and expand their horizon.”

There is still time to sign up for Mock Convention. Also, if any person on campus is interested in registering to vote, contact Franchesca Nestor, an assistant professor of politics and government (fvnestor@owu.edu).