Denver, USA - On 31 March 2020, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver launched a trailblazing undergraduate course on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants fully based on the modules developed by the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, in the framework of the initiative Education For Justice of the Global Programme for the implementation of the Doha Declaration. This is the first undergraduate course globally that is fully based on the UNODC modules. Driving force behind this course is Professor Claude d’Estrée, Professor of International Law & Human Rights. Professor d’Estrée is one of our Education for Justice Champions, who joined the network in spring of 2018 in an expert workshop organized by UNODC in Doha, Qatar aiming at developing a syllabus on which the modules on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants would be based. Now, Professor d’Estrée at the prestigious Josef Korbel School of International Studies is instructing a 36 hours course with an additional 10 lab hours to 25 undergraduate students that will follow a syllabus full of a selection of interactive assignments and interesting readings based on the UNODC modules and beyond. Professor d’Estrée is the Director of the Human Trafficking Center (HTC) at the University of Denver. Established in 2002, HTC is the only two-year, graduate-level training program in human trafficking in the U.S. Undergraduate students that successfully complete this course will also be eligible to work with the Human Trafficking Center of the University of Denver. Professor d’Estrée stated that “we suddenly all find ourselves teaching our courses online. The E4J Modules, with all their resources, have made my job immensely easier. Readings, videos, exercises and even class notes have made this transition from in-class to online almost seamless.”
The challenge for educators is great in times of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In-class teaching has been suspended in many parts of the world and professors are called to lecture online using different platforms. A global pandemic was not in the radar when UNODC was developing these modules in cooperation with world leading academics. But the modules seem to be able to contribute to resilience and adaptability of academic professors.
As the world adjusts to the measures in place to face the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerabilities of people at risk of being trafficked increase, victims of trafficking and migrants in need face hindered access to services and criminals adapt their modus operandi. By continuing to teach on these crimes amidst this crisis, the world of education has an essential role to play in fostering a culture of lawfulness and ensuring that our society does not lose sight of the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Congratulations to Professor d’Estrée and we wish students and educators alike a productive semester full of discoveries!