PDC makes bags for trafficking survivors

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor | Pictured from back right to front middle at Sunday night's event: Dylan Gannon, Cole Proctor, Yenok Admassu, Shane Clunan, Connor Gallagher, Connor Kirby, Igor Naumovski, Gavin Murren, Andrew Morgan, Audra Brown, Kacy Smith, Amanda Casterline and Alex Tardugno.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Oct. 6, 2022

Although it’s not shared in the news as much as it could be, human trafficking is a big issue that can affect anyone anywhere at any time.

That’s why members of Phi Delta Chi (a pharmacy fraternity) and members of other fraternities and sororities on Duquesne’s campus, gathered in the Union Ballroom on Sunday night to make care packages for Living in Liberty, a non-profit organization.

The Pittsburgh-based organization, known for its efforts to combat human trafficking in Southwestern Pennsylvania, offers services of prayer and counseling to women on the street and provides a safe home to those who may need an extra hand getting back to their life journey.

Kacy Smith, a helper at the event and member of the pharmacy sorority Lambda Kappa Sigma, said she thinks it’s important to help those in need. She said human trafficking is scary, and making these bags is a great, safe way to help those who need it most.

“To me, I think that it’s something that you don’t usually see. It’s something that happens behind the scenes,” Smith said. “But it’s really serious and really scary for a lot of people.”

Other people at the event, including Phi Delta Chi President Igor Naumovski, agreed with Smith. He said that these bags also help to take some stress off of survivors’ shoulders.

“A lot of women that come out of human trafficking don’t have the resources or the money to pay for things,” Naumovski said. “So this organization helps them alleviate some of the stress, and also gives them a place to stay.”

Since the fraternity wanted to make as many bags as possible, members started the night by going around to each table with a plastic bag and grabbing one or two items from every section.

Some of these necessary items included things like body wash, lotion, Chapstick, a hand towel, razors and hair ties.

Since some of these women want a choice in what they receive, event participants were able to pick between certain items like lotion and Chapstick to put into the bags.

Doing this will allow for the women to choose between which items they want more than others when the bags get to them.

Audra Brown, a member of Lambda Kappa Sigma, said these types of items are great for helping women feel clean and comfortable, even if they are still on the streets.

“Being able to feel better about yourself and having these products readily available will improve a mood,” Brown said.

The event had about a dozen students from different pharmacy organizations, sororities and fraternities come to help. The process went smoothly, and bags were finished and ready to be donated in less than 30 minutes.

Although many of the students in attendance, like Smith, have access to the simple products that were there, they know many people in the city don’t have that luxury.

Smith said these items can be taken for granted, but are necessary for those in need of assistance.

“These are like the basic necessities you’re seeing out here, and it’s things that you wouldn’t normally think about,” Smith said. “So I think it just makes our lives a lot easier.”

Another thing that students don’t typically think about is the idea that human trafficking could happen at any moment, right in front of them.

Brown said that events like these allow for students to give back to their community in a meaningful way.

“I think it’s such a big, hot topic in the news lately that it’s something that you might not always think is in your city,” Brown said. “I think it’s really great that we can contribute with what we can provide as students.”