Chairman Don Gogniat receives Liberty Bell Award

Don Gogniat preparing to receive the Liberty Bell Award from the York County Bar Association.

We are proud to share that the York County Bar Association recently honored Don Gogniat, chairman of the board for the Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-Central Pennsylvania, with the Liberty Bell Award for his work raising awareness about human trafficking in the region.

The Liberty Bell Award is given to “a non-attorney volunteer in the York community who has encouraged others to respect the laws and legal system, to learn more about and take an active role in the American justice system, and to take pride in our nation’s system of freedom for all under the law.”


Governor Tom Wolf, top left, at the York County Bar Association event honoring Don Gogniat, bottom right.

The Story Behind the 11 million Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.

NPR’s All Things Considered recently took at look at the history of how the U.S. came to have so many undocumented immigrants.

This is a history of the changes of labor immigration to the United States and governmental attempts to regulate it. Any changes in the immigration laws have to take into an account U.S. economics. The U.S.,. as a rule, has benefitted from the labor imigration. But – do the immigrants always benefit?

Listen to the story below:

WITF’s Smart Talk Discusses Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

WITF’s Smart Talk recently hosted two experts to discuss the problem and impact of human trafficking in Pennsylvania and the U.S.

From WITF:

Shea M. Rhodes, Director of Villanova’s CSE Institute, discussed the scope of human trafficking and forced prostitution and society’s approach to aiding those victims.  Dr. Susan Mapp, Professor of Social Work at Elizabethtown College, described the impact these crimes have in Central Pennsylvania. Mapp also pointed out that there are other forms of trafficking besides sex trafficking; she also talks about the people who are vulnerable to be trafficked.

Listen the the episode here:

The Daily Item: Judge Warns of Human Trafficking Dangers in the Valley

“If you think sex trafficking isn’t happening in the Valley, then think again, a former Lycoming County district judge said.

More than 60 people gathered at the Christ Wesleyan Church, in Milton, Saturday for a symposium titled, “Open Your Eyes: Reasons, Responsibilities, Responses,” for the purpose of helping the community understand that the problem of child exploitation is real and relevant, Senior Lycoming County District Judge Jim Sortman said.”

Read more at The Daily Item.

Photo courtesy of Francis Scarcella/The Daily Item.

Miami University student writes about growth of human trafficking in Ohio, nationwide

A Miami University student recently interviewed Stepanka Korytova, founder of the Centers for the Study of Human Trafficking – South-Central Pennsylvania, about the abuse she experienced emigrating to the U.S. as part of a story sharing about the the growth of human trafficking in the U.S.


Read Blair Donovan’s well-researched piece about the problems surrounding trafficking in Ohio in particular here: “Alone And Enslaved: The Human Trafficking Epidemic In The United States.”


Beauty pageant silences contestant critical of Chinese human rights abuses

Working through a British-sponsored beauty pageant the Chinese government seems to have gone out of its way to silence this 26 year old who has been speaking out against China for its human rights record. From the New York Times:

“After the Chinese authorities blocked the Canadian beauty queen Anastasia Lin from attending the 65th annual Miss World pageant in China last year, the event’s British organizers offered her a consolation prize, of sorts: They promised to allow her a chance to compete in the 2016 finals, which are currently underway in suburban Washington.

What they did not tell her was that she could smile but not speak out publicly during the event, which is largely sponsored by Chinese companies.

Over the past three weeks, as she and her fellow contestants have rehearsed for Tuesday’s finale, Ms. Lin, 26 — an actress, classically trained pianist and outspoken critic of Chinese human rights abuses — has been barred from speaking to the news media, friends and relatives said.”

Read the complete story here.

Berks County prosecutor gets first conviction in Pa. on “involuntary servitude”

(Reading) — A prosecutor in the midstate is believed to be the first one in the state to get a conviction under a new law meant to address human trafficking.

Berks County Assistant District Attorney Carmen White brought an involuntary servitude charge against a man who provided a teenage girl with drugs, and threatened to tell others if she didn’t have sex with him.

35-year-old Martin Mercado pleaded guilty in the case.

Read the full story on