|Conference on trafficking of women and children set for April 7-8 at UNC|
|March 17, 2006|
Policy-makers, law enforcement officials, scholars and social service
providers will gather April 7-8 for "Sexual Trafficking: Breaking the
Crisis of Silence," a conference hosted by the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill's Carolina Women's Center.
The two-day conference, which will include presentations and panel discussions by international experts, will provide a detailed and multi-disciplined examination of the devastating and rapidly growing international industry - one that enslaves more than 600,000 women and children each year, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The conference will be at the Radisson Hotel in the Research Triangle Park and is open to the public. Admission is $60 for the public, $25 for students. To register, visit http://womenscenter.unc.edu/trafficking.
Psychiatrist Dr. Linnea Smith, a member of the conference planning committee, said the programs will aim to raise awareness of the growing and horrifying problem of global slavery, as well as to suggest ways that attendees can help address the international crisis.
"Too many people do not fully grasp the magnitude of this problem and the enormous impact on areas of health, human services and human rights," said Smith, a longtime local advocate for the well-being of women and children.
"The individual and collective denial - that trafficking is something far removed from one's own experience and geographic area - has contributed to the growth of this modern-day slavery. The beginning step of stopping the problem is educating yourself, and that's what the conference hopes to do."
Conference participants will include top U.S. and state officials, national law enforcement leaders, executives of non-government organizations and social service experts working on the array of areas affected by sexual trafficking, including family services, public health organizations, psychiatric services and police departments.
The keynote speaker will be Laura Lederer, a senior adviser on trafficking in persons to the under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. Other international leaders presenting at the conference will include:
Panel discussions and break-out sessions will address issues caused by trafficking of women and children. Topics will include law enforcement issues; health, social and political challenges; and information on the global scope of the problem. As many as 27 million people are enslaved worldwide, according to Free the Slaves, a nonprofit group working to end slavery worldwide.
The problem is a serious one for both the United States - which the State Department reports is the second-largest destination for victims worldwide - and in North Carolina, which had a rising number of suspected trafficking organizations uncovered in recent years.
Discussions at the conference will cover how trafficking affects North Carolina, where the State Bureau of Investigation has looked into brothels and suspected prostitution rings suspected of trafficking in Raleigh, Durham, Asheville and other areas.
The conference also will focus on possible interventions and solutions.
Sponsors of "Sexual Trafficking: Breaking the Crisis of Silence" include, from UNC, the Carolina Women's Center; the Office of Global Health in the School of Public Health; the Jordan Institute for Families in the School of Social Work and the Office of Research Development. Another 16 campus groups are co-sponsors, as are the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
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For more information about Sexual Trafficking: Breaking the Crisis of Silence, visit http://womenscenter.unc.edu/trafficking.
Carolina Women's Center contact: Adam Gori, 919-962-8305 or email@example.com
News Services contacts: print, L.J. Toler, 919-962-8589; broadcast, Karen Moon, 919-962-8595
For further information please contact Ramona DuBose either by phone at 919-967-7467 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.