Degree program leads to discovery of new passion

Written by Cheryl Lange on Tue, 03/12/2019 - 13:01 |

As the Human Trafficking Case Manager at Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Asia Jackson provides advocacy to survivors of trafficking and develops trainings on human trafficking for the community and service providers. She also collaborates with local and federal law enforcement partners and other non-governmental agencies to identify and provide support to survivors of sex and labor trafficking.

Wanting a deeper understanding of law enforcement’s role in her field, Jackson decided to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice. “I wanted to study criminal justice in order to better understand how some of the clients that I work with interact with the criminal justice system. Although I primarily work with victims of crime, I felt as if this field of study highlighted my interest rather than studying social work,” she said.

Jackson’s seminar paper allowed her to explore that aspect of survivor advocacy, and helped her to discover another area where she could contribute her experience and skillset. In her paper, Jackson wrote about the criminalization of survivors of sex trafficking and highlighted recommendations for judicial and legislative changes. “Being able to do research in an area that was of interest to me was an incredible opportunity. The seminar paper helped me realize that I have a passion for looking at how victims of crime may also be funneled through the criminal justice system and how to create approaches that either divert them from further involvement or provide them with services as they go through the system,” she said. “I have been able to expand my work to be aware of the barriers in place for my clients who have a criminal record as a result of their victimization.”

Jackson, who also has experience in domestic violence advocacy, worked full-time while completing her degree and graduated in spring 2018. Now, she plans to use her degree to continue to grow in her field. “I hope to get involved in policy work as it relates to human trafficking or issues of gender-based violence. I love being able to use my knowledge and interpersonal skills to be able to influence change. I am thankful for the flexibility that the MSCJ program allowed for me to be able to discover an additional area of passion for me and help me in deciding what I would like my next career move to be.”