UCF sociology professor Jay Corzine was awarded the Polaris Award from the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, the College of Sciences announced March 25.
The Polaris Award is sponsored by the task force and recognizes individuals who work towards their mission statement. For Corzine, the award him for his research combating human trafficking in Central Florida
According to Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force's website, the vision of the task force is to combat modern day slavery and human trafficking and to empower the survivors in the greater Orlando area.
Corzine said he and his team spent three years analyzing hotline calls, human trafficking services and factors that affect law enforcement's response to human trafficking. He said he worked with investigators to find patterns in traffickers and their victims.
Corzine said he started his research when he couldn’t find any answers to the questions he had about human trafficking in our area.
“I like to have answers,” Corzine said. “There’s not any good estimates of the number of human trafficking victims in Orange County, Central Florida, the state of Florida, the United States or for that matter, worldwide.”
Corzine said the work he and his team are doing is a step in the right direction, but this research will be ongoing for at least another quarter century.
“Now I probably won’t be doing it for another quarter century, but hopefully somebody will,” Corzine said.
As part of a March 28 seminar hosted by Knights for Social Justice during their Human Trafficking Awareness week, Corzine spoke to students about his research and how to stay aware.
“I think the most important thing is to be observant,” Corzine said. “Don’t be paranoid, but be careful.”
KSJ is a registered student organization that aims to advance social justice causes in our local community, according to their website.
The club's founding President Jackie Reiss said she believes these seminars are important because it will help spread awareness to this issue.
“A lot of people don’t know about the prevalence of human trafficking in our local community," Reiss said. "I think it’s important to educate people that its really common locally.”