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Survive Support

Community Partner Highlight: IGNITE

By January 18, 2022No Comments

Combatting human trafficking is not one individual or organization’s sole responsibility, it will take a community to eradicate the systems and circumstances of exploitation.  IIB is starting a series where we interview our local partners who are taking measures to combat human trafficking with us!

Today we are talking to Diane R. Bessel from Daemen college’s IGNITE program.


What is IGNITE and can you tell us a bit more about its mission?

“IGNITE is an applied research center at Daemen College. We offer high-quality but affordably priced resources to our non-profit and community partners. We help to develop ideas and strategies, a liaison that helps to develop stronger programs.

IGNITE is led by faculty and gives participating BSW and MSW students a training ground for applied experience, allowing them to build networks within the community. Many students even take on jobs with the organizations they’ve worked with after graduation.”


That’s amazing! Can you talk about your partnership with IIB?

“Yes, we’ve been partners for a few years. We’ve given an assessment of the WNY Human Trafficking Task Force through applied research and offered suggestions. Part of our assessment was an evaluation of the trafficking court and a needs assessment for at-risk youth, which helped our city receive grants from the Department of Justice. We hope that these grants will help to build screening resources and tools particular to assisting trafficked youth.”


What have students’ experiences been like working with the Institute and/or our clients?

“Social work students working on applied research for IIB have conveyed the experience as eye-opening. As it pertains to trafficking we’ve all heard the story of dangerous strangers lurking, but students learn how much of human trafficking is related to poverty, inequality, and all forms of oppression; and that many survivors know their traffickers personally. This is an important lesson for students because learning how traffickers take advantage of people’s disadvantages is essential to combat the practices.”


Is there one student success story from IGNITE that sticks out to you?

“One student that partnered with IIB went on to become a High-Risk Domestic Violence Coordinator at Child and Family Services, a role she felt she understood better after doing the program.

Our program and our work with partners like IIB allow students to research complex social issues. They study the “isms” present in our society and unpack at a high level how we reinforce these systems. We need to study disparities in order to address them, and we need to make sure they are considered during the work we do every day.


If you’re interested in learning more/ partnering with IGNITE you can find them at their website, or reach out directly via email: