Students Organize Conference to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking April 14–17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 04-11-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
530-898-4260
Ashlley Martinez, Student President
Stop Trafficking of Persons (STOP)
909-234-7072

More than 2,000 are expected to attend the Stop Trafficking of Persons (STOP) conference at California State University, Chico April 14–17. The third annual student-run event is aimed at raising awareness of the modern-day slave trades that abound both domestically and abroad. 

A number of discussions, presentations and workshops are planned over the four-day conference. On Tuesday, April 15, author and attorney Carissa Phelps will give a keynote presentation on her experiences in the sex trafficking industry in Fresno, Calif., at the age of 12. Phelps is now a human rights activist and the author of “Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets.” Her presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bell Memorial Union (BMU) Auditorium.

On Thursday, April 17, activist JD Stier will give a keynote presentation on conflict minerals and their link to human trafficking. As campaign manager for Raise Hope for Congo, a national conflict-free campus initiative, Stier has worked with the Obama administration and with Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers to help break the ties between minerals used to make electronics and human trafficking in Congo. His presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the BMU Auditorium.

The conference is organized by the campus group STOP, which was formed in 2008 by students taking sociology professor Janja Lalich’s Social Movements course. The organization gathers weekly on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in Butte 327. The meetings are open to the community.  

Human trafficking exploits its victims for sex or labor profit. According to the Polaris Project, an organization working toward solutions to end trafficking, in 2010 an estimated 27 million people were enslaved across the world, and the industry profited nearly $32 billion annually. Eighty percent of transnational victims were women and girls; 2 million children each year were exploited by the global commercial sex trade.

“Our third annual Human Trafficking Awareness Conference will be comprised of a series of campus events intended to bridge the gaps between awareness and activism in the modern-day abolitionist movement,” said STOP president Ashlley Martinez, a junior majoring in communications sciences and disorders. “We’re hoping to arm students, community members, law enforcement and CSU, Chico faculty and staff with the information they need to effectively combat modern-day slavery.”

The conference is free to attend; no registration is required. The full conference schedule follows:

Monday, April 14

4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Colusa 100
Legal Aspects of Human Trafficking
Featured Speakers: FBI Special Agent Dilland and U.S. Assistant Attorney Kyle Reardon

7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Colusa 100
Roundtable Discussion for Local Stakeholders (law enforcement, teachers and social workers)
Featured Speakers: FBI Special Agents, U.S. Assistant Attorney Reardon and Lt. John Vanek (formerly of San Jose Trafficking Task Force)

Tuesday, April 15

4:30 to 6 p.m., Colusa 100
The Essential Abolitionist
Featured Speaker: Retired Lt. John Vanek, formerly of the San Jose Human Trafficking Task Force

6 to 6:30 p.m., Colusa 100
Student Research on International Trafficking

7:30 to 9:30 p.m., BMU Auditorium
Runaway Girls
Keynote Speaker: Carissa Phelps, author of “Runaway Girl,” trafficking survivor and founder of the NGO

Wednesday, April 16

4:30 to 6 p.m., Colusa 100
Resources for Survivors
Featured Speakers: Chris Stambaugh, GRACE Network, Sacramento; Tatyana Foltz, Freedom House, San Francisco

6 to 6:30 p.m., Colusa 100
Student Research on International Trafficking

7:30 to 9:30 p.m., BMU Auditorium
Keynote Speaker: Shamere McKenzie, trafficking survivor
Sponsored by Bidwell-Rancho Soroptimists

Thursday, April 17

4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Colusa 100
Complexities of Human Trafficking: Conflict Minerals
Featured Speaker: Kaveetha Sreeharsha, executive director of the Global Freedom Center. Sreeharsha will provide an interactive, advanced human-trafficking workshop. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

7:30 to 9:30 p.m., BMU Auditorium
Keynote Speaker: JD Stier, campaign manager for Raise Hope for Congo, a national conflict-free campus initiative. Stier works to help break the links between minerals used in our electronics and human trafficking in Congo.

For more information, visit www.csuchico.edu/stop.

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