"Human trafficking: Slavery here and now" topic of conference at Fairfield University on Oct. 24


Human trafficking is a subject seldom discussed in "polite company," and yet this horrific crime exists both in cities and in the most respectable of suburban neighborhoods, here in Connecticut and across the United States. Hidden from most people's consciousness, this very current and human scandal will have a full airing at a conference on "Human Trafficking: Slavery Here & Now," to take place at Fairfield University on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Oak Room of the John A. Barone Campus Center.

Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., director of the Center for Faith and Public Life, said, "We are very pleased to be co-sponsoring this important conference with the International Institute of Connecticut in collaboration with the Connecticut State Police Human Trafficking Taskforce. It is just this kind of synergy that we envisioned when we embarked two years ago on a Center that would explore issues that touch both our faith and our public lives."

The Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is offering 5.5 CEU credits to social workers attending the conference.

It is believed that as many as 17,000 individuals are trafficked into the United States each year: men, women, and children who are forced into prostitution and different forms of labor, often with little, if any, pay. They are subjected to deplorable, degrading treatment with little chance to escape.

The purpose of the conference is to provide service professionals, including medical personnel, social workers and other social service providers, law enforcement, students, and members of the public with tools to understand how to recognize a potential trafficking situation and what to do if and when they come in contact with a victim of trafficking.

Among the prominent speakers throughout the day are Florrie Burke, a noted authority in the field of trafficking who has provided training to federal prosecutors and FBI and ICE investigators about the dynamics of trafficking and the psychological impact on trafficked persons; author Ron Soodalter who has done in-depth research on trafficking cases across the United States and is planning to publish next year his study of human trafficking and modern day slavery in America; Andrew Kline, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Justice who is currently serving as special litigation counsel in the Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit; and Jane F. Rodas, the director of Project Rescue and Assist New Americans at the International Institute of Connecticut, Inc., who sits on the federally funded STOP IT Anti-Trafficking Task Force, as well as the Connecticut Interagency Council on Trafficking in Persons.

Participants in the conference will take part in break-out sessions and have access to an impressive lineup of workshops, that will include the following panelists:

Elizabeth Hopper, Ph.D., program director, Project REACH in Boston., a program that offers direct services to victims of human trafficking in the United States, and training on human trafficking and consultation to other providers on the traumatic impact of human trafficking;

Sergeant Paul L. Killoran, executive officer, Connecticut State Police, Statewide Organized Crime Investigative Taskforce and Human Trafficking Taskforce; who supervises a team of State Police detectives tasked with interdicting and arresting members of traditional organized crime groups as well as non-traditional groups, such as criminal street gangs;

Allison McConnell, Project Rescue and Assist New Americans, International Institute of Connecticut, Inc., who provides case management services to refugees and trafficking victims, including job skills and acculturation training, rights and responsibilities information, advocacy, and access to local and state social services;

David Mello, special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Haven, Conn., who has investigated criminal violations in human trafficking;

Bradley Myles, national program director, Polaris Project Washington, D.C., a leading anti-trafficking organization that combines direct intervention, survivor support, policy advocacy, and movement building to combat human trafficking;

Sean O'Malley, special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who has investigated human trafficking in Connecticut;

Krishna R. Patel, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, who since 2004 has coordinated efforts to combat human smuggling and human trafficking in Connecticut and serves as chair of the Smuggling and Trafficking of Persons Investigative Task Force (STOP IT);

Neil T. Patrick assistant director, Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, who as a member of the Connecticut Human Trafficking Taskforce and the Connecticut Young Worker Safety Team; and

Michael Wishnie, clinical professor of law, Yale Law School and an expert in labor law, who has filed countless civil actions on behalf of workers whose labor rights have been violated. He supervises law students at the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization of Yale Law School in actions on behalf of victims of human trafficking.

Registration (best if before Oct. 22) is $25 per person. Cost with 5.5 CEU credits: $35. To register or for additional information, please contact Melissa Quan, assistant director, Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University, (203) 254-4000 ext. 3455, mquan@mail.fairfield.edu or Allie McConnell, case manager International Institute of Connecticut, Inc., (203) 336-0141, amcconnell@iiconn.org

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 12, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 76