Our Stories, Our Future: An Ohio State Docu-series

© 2019 | The Ohio State University Sesquicentennial Office
The award-winning team behind WOSU’s “Columbus Neighborhoods” series are producing a 6-part mini-documentary series highlighting the depth and breadth of the university. Topics include land-grant heritage, physical campus, student experience, citizenship, international reach, teaching and learning, service and tradition. The video below Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah is one of the featured faculty members in the second series video on teaching and learning. Go to the Sesquicentennial homepage for more videos and history on The Ohio State University.

Film Crews

Much of my work demands media exposure in order to be impactful.  Over the years, I have been very fortunate to work with a number of film crews on content related to anti-trafficking work, genocides, and The Ohio State University. This is the first time, however, that someone in the room decided to film the men behind the cameras and lighting. I am glad that William Ashley of the Enterprise Project pulled out his camera and started taking photos. I am thankful for the number of people at The Ohio State University who continue to entrust me with representing Ohio State.  Workday–I am ready for  your roll out!

Voices for Change:  Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah

By Spectrum News Staff, Columbus, Ohio
Published July 6, 2020

Watch the Voices for Change Video Online

Leaders at Ohio State Discuss the Role of Universities in Addressing Racial Tension

Ohio State News, June 10, 2020
By Chris Booker

As protests to end police brutality and improve racial justice continue across the world, leaders at The Ohio State University are examining how public universities can make a positive difference…

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate vice provost for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said everyone at the university has a responsibility to engage with these issues.

“Even before I became the associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion, I personally felt responsible … to embrace diversity and inclusion and equity,” she said. “I never thought it was the responsibility of one unit or one person or one chief diversity officer. I always took that responsibility myself. And I would encourage everyone affiliated with this university to take on that responsibility to embrace diversity, inclusion and especially equity individually.”
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Office of Diversity and Inclusion Holds Webinar on Racial Tensions

The Lantern, June 8, 2020
By Bella Czajkowski

After nearly two weeks of nationwide protests, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted a panel discussing ways that Ohio State can address racial injustice Monday that drew almost 2,000 viewers…

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion, said the 400-year history of racism in America is not a new issue despite recent incidents.

“We are in a period of time where people are saying ‘enough is enough’ and it’s time to seize the moment and do something different to address racism in this country,” Meshelemiah said.
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Reaching Passionate Students Through Affordable Course Materials

The Ohio State University Office of Distance Education and eLearning
By Erin DeVilbiss, September 24, 2019
Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah is passionate about fighting human trafficking. She wanted her students to be passionate too.

However, when there are additional costs to a course (like expensive textbooks), some students are unable to take a class— even when the subject is something they really care about. Dr. Meshelemiah is combatting this with her newly redesigned course. By incorporating the use of a Pressbook, written by herself and her doctoral student, Raven E. Lynch, she is saving students an estimated $17,000.

We talked with Dr. Meshelemiah to learn more about how she used her Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) grant to transform her course.
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Enterprise Project
Q and A with Jacquelyn Meshelemiah

By Trisha Patel, March 26, 2019
The Enterprise Project is a business transformation that will improve the Ohio State experience and advance operational excellence through Workday and other modern, effective services and technology. 

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah is an associate professor in the College of Social Work and a three-time alumna of Ohio State. She joined the Enterprise Project’s Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) last spring. The FAC serves as the voice of faculty for Enterprise Project initiatives, ensuring the academy’s needs are heard and addressed throughout the project’s transformational work. Below, Dr. Meshelemiah shares her thoughts on the Enterprise Project.

How did you first become involved with the Faculty Advisory Committee?
When my dean first asked me to be a part of this committee, I thought, “What for?! This is an HR/IT thing.” I did not think about the value of faculty using their time in this way, until I started to go to the meetings. And the discussions were about looking at your pay stubs, ordering your supplies, knowing on the spot about your grant funding, hiring people. And I thought, “Oh, this applies to me!”

How do the FAC discussions allow you and other faculty to engage in Enterprise Project work?
The FAC meetings are very informative and hands-on. Project leaders continue to demo what’s available to show us how Workday is going to work. So, that gives us opportunities to ask questions and give recommendations as well. I find it to be so useful, and I’m appreciative that it’s broken down to baby steps so it’s digestable. The project has been so thoughtful to faculty needs.
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Local Shelter Top Priority For Victims Of Human Trafficking

Savannah Morning News, Jan 30, 2018 
By John Newton
Last month’s event at Savannah State University marked the third consecutive year the Savannah Council on Interagency Diversity (SIDC) has organized a day-long symposium to educate the public on the dangers posed by human trafficking.

Featuring a variety of speakers from law enforcement as well as counselors and caregivers, the 2018 Savannah Traffick Jam offered participants concrete advice on how to combat a problem that is ongoing and widespread.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, a professor in the Department of Social Work at Ohio State University, said her interest in human trafficking began early in her career when she was a social worker in Buffalo, New York.

“I met a young prostitute and was struck by how we were alike in many ways,” Meshelemiah recalled. “We were both women of color and in our twenties. But then she told me about her life on the streets and how her pimp had taken complete control of her life, even to the point of forcing her to have sex with animals and I knew I had to do something to stop this exploitation. ”
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Prof. Jacquelyn C. A. Meshelemiah from Ohio State University in USA on “Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of Universities”

The Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce (FMSC) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (SJP), 12 December 2017
Prof. Jacquelyn C. A. Meshelemiah from Ohio State University in USA conducted a seminar on “Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of Universities” on 04th December, 2017 from 10.00AM to 12.00PM at the Faculty Board Room of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. This seminar was conducted under the seminar series of the Staff Development Program of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Dr. U. Anura Kumara (Dean of the Faculty) also attended the seminar.Read the complete article online
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Horror Too Close to Home: Human Trafficking in America

The Academy Life, May 9, 2016
By Caroline Anders
“Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or of receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, “Trafficking does not require physical restraint, bodily harm, or physical force. Psychological means of control, such as threats, fraud, or abuse of the legal process, are sufficient elements of the crime.”

Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, an Associate Professor at Ohio State University, clarifies that “prostitution does not include coercion, fraud or force. It if does, then it is sex trafficking.” This is a subtlety that is crucial to one’s understanding of human trafficking as a crime. It is possible to be a prostitute and not be a victim of trafficking. Misconceptions of this rule ultimately harm those who use sex work as a means of economic support. Additionally, expecting trafficking victims to be foreign is a large misconception. A study by TIME shows that 83% of those forced into prostitution in the U.S. are from the U.S.
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Activism Can Prevail:
Researcher Shares Mission to End Human Trafficking

The Ohio State University AlumNews, February, 2015
By Lee Jansen

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah sees herself as highly spiritual and eternally optimistic, traits that help her remain positive as a researcher and activist focusing on the travesty of human trafficking.

“You have to be hopeful to stay in this area of research,” explained the three-time Ohio State graduate and associate professor of social work. She believes that like the transatlantic slave trade, which endured for more than 300 years, human trafficking will end someday. “It’s going to take a while, but trafficking will end because of activism.”
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Jacquelyn Meshelemiah ’90, ’91, ’95
Buckeye for Life
Freedom is a Cause Worth Her Fight

By Lee Jansen, Jan/Feb 2015
The transatlantic slave trade lasted for more than 300 years around the world before it came to an end. Human trafficking, too, will end. It’s going to take a while, but trafficking will end because of activism.”

So says Jacquelyn Meshelemiah. She is one of those activists fighting modern-day slavery that entraps an estimated 35 million people worldwide in the sex trade and forced labor, surrogacy and even athletics.

An Ohio State associate professor of social work, Meshelemiah is internationally known for her research and activism in human trafficking. She recently taught a four-week massive online open course, or MOOC, that drew more than 30,000 students from 187 countries. Another one of her human trafficking courses, available through iTunes U, has had some 25,000 downloads.
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Posted Jan 17, 2015
An open-to-anyone online course about human trafficking drew more than 30,000 participants this past fall, an outpouring that heartened – and exhausted – the Ohio State University professor who led the effort.

An open-to-anyone online course about human trafficking drew more than 30,000 participants this past fall, an outpouring that heartened — and exhausted — the Ohio State University professor who led the effort.

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah said she has no doubt that the monthlong course helped with awareness and understanding. But communities still need to look deeper, she said.

“I’m so excited that they busted those massage parlors,” said Meshelemiah, referring to raids this week at three businesses in Delaware and Franklin counties. “I know of many more that need to be busted.”

Americans still tend to think of human trafficking as a problem largely confined to developing countries, she said, a view that can cause red flags to be missed locally.
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Reynoldsburg Students Fight Human Trafficking

Eastside Messenger,

Members of the coalition listen to a presentation at the Break Every Chain human trafficking conference, that they planned, held at the high school’s Summit Road campus.

Students from Reynoldsburg High School were recognized for launching the first high school abolitionist group in the Columbus area after the group hosted the second annual human trafficking conference earlier this month.

The ultimate cause of human trafficking is greed, says Ohio State University social work professor Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, who spoke at the conference about the economics of slavery. Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry worldwide.

There is a lot people can do to decrease the demand for exploited labor, said Meshelemiah, from rethinking bachelor parties to being a conscious consumer by boycotting businesses known to have slavery in their supply chains, supporting local businesses, buying used clothing and goods, consuming less in general, and buying fair trade. She said businesses and brands will listen if people write them and ask them to monitor their supply chains and guarantee they don’t use slave labor. This year’s conference presenters included a panel of survivors from the Columbus area who spoke about their experiences.

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Human Trafficking Program Online Course

WCMH-TV 4, 5PM News, Columbus, Ohio, February 9, 2015
WCMH TV explores the success of a human trafficking online iTunes U course, by Ohio State University professor Jacquelyn Meshelemiah.


Kim Longinotto, Filmmaker, 2015
Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University
Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at Sundance
Kim Longinotto’s Dreamcatcher is a revealing and inspirational portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a woman who, after 25 years as a drug-addicted prostitute, decided to change her life following a violent encounter with a john. Myers-Powell founded The Dreamcatcher Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk women and girls who are desperate to escape their personal cycles of violence and prostitution but who feel that prostitution is their only option to survive. We follow Myers-Powell as she hears one harrowing tale after another and not only lends an understanding ear, but shows them a way out of the same dire circumstances. (97 mins., DCP)

Please join us for a post-screening panel with Brenda Myers-Powell, Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, and Homer King (all with the Dreamcatcher Foundation and all featured in the film) and Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, Associate Professor in Ohio State’s College of Social Work.

Dreamcatcher is on tour this fall with generous support from The Fledgling Fundin collaboration with Women Make Movies and the British Council.
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Patience Is A Virtue That Can Be Learned – In Africa

One Health, The Ohio State University, August 12, 2014
By Jacquelyn C.A. Meshelemiah
Associate Professor, Ohio State College of Social Work

From left, Jacquelyn with Addisu and Asmech.

“This is Africa!”

I have heard the expression, “This is Africa!” repeatedly over the last week while conducting research here in Gondar, Ethiopia.

I came here to collect data from Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) on Tenofovir, a microbicide gel used to prevent HIV infection. It is in clinical trials in South Africa. The data collection is part of joint research project among Ohio State’s Colleges of Social Work and Nursing and the Department of Social Work at Gondar.

We most certainly hope to pilot Tenofovir in Ethiopia should the second trial in South Africa confirm the original results.  It will be a few years in coming, but we are conducting the research here to assess Ethiopia’s readiness for Tenofovir gel in the future.

The people I’ve interviewed include social workers, nurses, public health personnel, internists, HAPCO workers, OB/GYNs, health extension workers, and other relevant personnel. My colleague, Mr. Semalegne Kendie Mengesha, and I collected a lot of data!
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The Future of Social Work in Ethiopia — Its Students

By Tom Gregoire
Dean, Ohio State College of Social Work
March 13, 2014

With our partners at the University of Gondar.

Yemataw is a social work student at University of Gondar, Ethiopia. He’s a great example of the future potential of our field in this country.

Yemataw works with Hope for Tomorrow, an agency that shelter’s homeless children and young people rescued from human trafficking. Children live in a home with up to 15 other children. The agency builds their model around a foster-care type approach. Each home has a mother and father assigned to it. The children are enrolled in school, get regular health care, and care for each other like a family.

Social work is a relatively new profession in Ethiopia, and its benefit to health and well-being is not well understood here. I’m here with two other members of Ohio State’s College of Social Work to meet with social work colleagues at the University of Gondar. Associate Professor Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, Associate Director of Field Education Elon Simms and I are here during Ohio State’s spring break. As I write this, we are more than halfway through our visit.

Our trip follows multiple meetings with Gondar representatives both in Columbus and Washington, D.C. Our Gondar colleagues identified the important role of social work in health care, and asked us to assist them in advancing their work in that area. Gondar is one of only six social work programs in Ethiopia. (There are more than 400 programs, and 220 graduate programs in the U.S.)
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Rwanda Victim Shares Genocide Tales

The Lantern, February 18, 2012
By Christopher Braun and Ayan Sheikh

Norah Bagirinka never thought she would live to tell anyone how she survived the gruesome Rwandan genocide 18 years ago. But in front of about 50 people at the Ohio Union, Bagirinka did just that.

“Most of you have seen ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ it doesn’t even have an inch of what happened,” Bagirinka said. “I see a lot of movies, and I read a lot of books, but nothing can give the weight, because it was beyond human imagination.”

A member of the Tutsi clan in Rwanda, Bagirinka said it was the constant animosity and hostility between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority that eventually sparked the three-month massacre.

“You know about the Belgian influencing penetration of the country and how they came in and favored one over the other … so unfortunately, thanks to that penetration of the country, rivalry and hostility started to just boil, boil and boil, and before you knew it, we have a major genocide in living color,” said Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate professor in the College of Social Work at Ohio State.

Meshelemiah called the killing very up-close and savage-like. She said most people were “hacked” to death with machetes.

“Most of them were hacked to death, they were also clubbed to death and for those who were fortunate enough, I hate to put it in that context, they were maybe shot,” Meshelemiah said.
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Bluffton University Students Hear About Human Trafficking

Hometown Stations Online, May 22, 2011
A light gets shined on the rarely talked about practice of human trafficking at Bluffton University. Doctor Jacquelyn Meshelemiah (me-sha-my-a) an associate professor for social work from the Ohio State University, talked to the Bluffton University students about how human trafficking is a form modern day slavery in the United States and abroad.

Meshelemiah says trafficking goes on in Ohio, specifically around the hub of Toledo and is mostly teenage girls between the ages of 13 to 17 years old and come from lower to middle class families who are forced in to the sex trade. But trafficking goes beyond the sex trade as people are forced to do labor for little or no money, or talked in to giving up and even killed for human organs, to sell on the black market.

Meshelemiah says common people don’t know about all that goes on with human trafficking and she believes there are reason why the topic is not discussed more in the media and the public. She says because the media shys away from the topic of sex slavery. Meshelemiah says raising awareness is the only way to stop human trafficking and one person, state, country can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a group effort from people around the world to get it done.
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