by Maddie Doucet
“I feel like they’ve taken my smile and I can never have it back.”
These were the words spoken by a Lithuanian woman who was trafficked to London. Her story is not unique – the United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that there are at least 12.3 million people trapped in modern slavery at any given time.
Detective Sergeant Roddy Llewellyn of the New Scotland Yard has dedicated his career to preventing human trafficking and providing justice for its victims. He leads the ten-person Human Trafficking Team that polices the London metropolitan area for trafficking activity and tackles organized criminal networks all over Europe that deal specifically in sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude and involuntary removal of organs.
Dennis Miller, Bryan’s executive director of external relations, coordinated Llewellyn’s visit.
“We are very pleased to have Roddy Llewellyn at Bryan once again to share his experiences with our students. Roddy’s lectures and his interaction with our SSTOP group are most helpful to our efforts to make the campus and the public more aware of this global crime of trafficking which destroys the lives of so many innocent people,” he said.
During the two days he spent on campus, Llewellyn visited several classes to discuss his job, the relevance of modern slavery and the importance of our generation’s involvement in finding a solution. His work often takes him outside London; he informed one class that he had just returned from an investigation in Romania the previous week.
Due to the investigative nature of Llewellyn’s job, he takes precautions not to be photographed and not to disclose information about his family. He even grew a beard for his visit, in case he is accidentally photographed. “Self-fuzzying, it’s called,” he told one class.
“He was very funny,” said Charissa Potra, freshman, who heard Llewellyn speak. “He was really blunt and bold. I really appreciated everything he had to say.”
During one class period, Llewellyn picked two female students to use as an example in a trafficking simulation. He began by acting as the man who lured the young girls into the scheme, and proceeded through to what his role would be as an investigator in the case.
Senior Politics and Government major Amelia George heard Llewellyn speak during his previous visit to Bryan, but said she still found him engaging and exciting. In regard to the in-class simulation, she said, “It was interesting how he put us in those positions. It really helps it hit home.”
Llewellyn said that the push for awareness of human trafficking has “raised the profile” and has helped in some cases. For example, Lithuania was formerly one of the largest suppliers of trafficking victims several years ago. After a large awareness campaign targeting at-risk groups, Llewellyn said that he hardly ever comes across Lithuanian victims.
As for what Bryan students can do to have the biggest impact on this global issue, Llewellyn said we should “highlight the plight of human trafficking and make it a priority.”
“One of the reasons I come to Bryan is that the young people here are going to be going out into the world and taking positions of power at some stage – that they’re going to make a difference.”
Click here to listen to a clip from Detective Sargeant Llewellyn’s lecture: Roddy Llewellyn–SSTOP