The 15th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference at The University of Toledo will host almost 90 presentations from researchers, advocates and survivors over the course of two days.
Heroin as a method of control and the connection between sex trafficking and drug addiction are among the issues to be explored.
The conference, which brings the sex and labor trafficking trades out of the shadows and helps end abuse through education and advocacy, will take place Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 and 21, in the Thompson Student Union.
UT’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition host the conference.
“We are celebrating 15 years of global collaboration to go beyond the idea of rescue and restore to have a profound understanding of emancipation and liberation from modern-day slavery,” Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, said. “This conference is an amazing experience where we see people connect to a new thought and open their hearts to vulnerable and stigmatized men and women.”
To date, the trafficking conference has welcomed presenters from 34 states and 25 countries to educate social service, health-care and criminal justice professionals on human trafficking and the needs and risks of survivors, as well as their customers and traffickers. The conference lays the groundwork for future collaborative research, advocacy and program development.
Presentations in the Thompson Student Union will include:
• “What I Wanted Was the Drugs: Heroin as a Method of Control in a Case Study on Sex Trafficking” Thursday, Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. in Room 2582 by Dr. Jesse Bach, director emeritus of the Imagine Foundation; Dr. George Tsagaris, associate professor in the School of Social Work at Cleveland State University; and Christine Buddner, paralegal and member of the Cleveland State University human trafficking research team.
• “Critical Linkages: Opiate Addiction and Elevated Risk of Human Trafficking” Thursday, Sept. 20, at 11:30 a.m. in Room 3010-A by Dr. Amy Thompson, UT professor of public health and co-chair of UT’s opioid task force; Dr. Joan Duggan, chief of infectious diseases at UT Medical Center and medical director of the UT Ryan White Program; Dr. Jamie Dowling Tawes, assistant director of the UT Ryan White Program; and Courtney Stewart, social worker and chemical dependency counselor with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department’s Northwest Ohio Syringe Services harm reduction program.
• “A Childhood Sex Trafficking Survivor’s Story and Perspectives” 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Auditorium by Kylee Gregg, a survivor of childhood sex trafficking who wants to share her story to help save others.
• “Internet Sex Trafficking: Will the Monster Stop Growing?” Thursday, Sept. 20, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ingman Room by Maureen Guirguis, director of the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Law Clinic.
• “Theatre for Youth: A Tool for Tackling Trafficking” Thursday, Sept. 20, at 10:15 a.m. in Room 3020 by Dr. Jo Beth Gonzalez, theater teacher at Bowling Green High School and leader of the BGHS Human Trafficking Awareness Troupe, which is made up of students who perform “Lily’s Shadow”; and Roxanna Schroeder-Arce, associate professor in the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Theatre and Dance and co-playwright of “Lily’s Shadow,” which illustrates signs of abuse in victims, strategies traffickers use to coerce young victims into the system, and tactics for escaping perilous situations.
• “Not #MeToo: How Gender-Based Work and Micro/Macro-Aggressions Impede Trafficking Survivors of Color From Accessing Services” Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Ingman Room by Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent, a psychologist who has collaborated on projects addressing sexual violence.
• “Correlates of Human Trafficking Risk: Implications for Screening, Referral and Intervention Among Substance Abuse Populations” Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. in Room 2582 by Isis Martel, medical sciences researcher at the University of Arkansas.
For additional information and a full schedule of presentations, visit traffickingconference.com.