May 25, 2019  

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Human Trafficking Focus of Conference on Hattiesburg Campus April 5-6

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One of the top criminal activities in the world, human trafficking, will be the focus of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties’ 4th conference, “Human Trafficking: Awareness and Action” set for Friday April 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in rooms 101-102 of the Liberal Arts Building on the USM Hattiesburg campus. This free event is open to the public.

Co-sponsors for this event are USM’s College of Arts and Sciences, The School of Social Sciences and Global Studies, and the Honors College. USM’s University Forum is co-sponsoring Friday’s keynote talk by Jeanette Westbrook, a human rights advocate who serves on United Nations panels working to combat trafficking.

The conference’s Saturday panels will feature presentations and commentary by law enforcement, social workers, and academicians, and human rights advocates will host training sessions for all interested in learning what they can do to stop trafficking.

“This terrible and illegal worldwide business of forced prostitution, known as human trafficking, has reached even Mississippi,” said Dr. Bob Press, an associate professor of political science who serves as director of the Center. “Young females are held captive by traffickers, and in some cases, families sell their children for drug money. It has become one of the fastest-growing, illegal businesses globally.”

Lindsey Hargrave, student assistant director for the Center, said she hopes the conference’s programming will “enlighten and empower people in Hattiesburg and the surrounding area to stand up against such a pervasive threat.”

For more information on the conference, contact Dr. Press at bob.press@usm.edu or Hargrave at lindsey.hargrave@usm.edu.