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Modern-Day Slavery Subject of Buffalo State Conference

Modern-Day Slavery Subject of Buffalo State Conference

Posted: September 28, 2016

In a suburb of Detroit, a high school girl was forced to sneak out of her parents’ house to be raped and beaten by the friends of a boy she had hoped to date. Across the globe, a five-year-old girl, a member of the Bedia community, was initiated into prostitution by her grandmother.

The rape survivor and the man who documented the exploitation of the Bedia girl will both be at Buffalo State to speak at Human Trafficking: Strategies for a Solution. Registration for the two-day conference, to be held October 14 and 15, is $25 through Friday, September 30, and $35 beginning October 1. Students with ID will be admitted free.

On Friday, October 14, Do I Have a Choice? A Saga of Socially Sanctioned Servitude will be screened at noon in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall. The documentary will be followed by the plenary address, Human Trafficking: Beyond Conventional Understanding, presented by Veerendra Mishra, executive director, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, India. Besides co-creating the documentary, Mishra has written several books including Combating Human Trafficking: Gaps in Policy and Law and Human Trafficking: The Stakeholders’ Perspective.

Theresa Flores, the author of The Slave across the Street, will shatter the belief that sex trafficking happens only in developing countries or poor neighborhoods. Her keynote address, scheduled for Saturday morning, will report how she was trafficked by her high-school classmates. She has been a social worker for 20 years and a leader in the effort to draw attention to human trafficking in the United States.

Several panels will be held on Saturday following Flores’s presentation. Panels comprising experts from Buffalo State, the University at Buffalo, and SUNY Potsdam as well as experts from U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement, the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, Erie County Department of Social Services, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, the International Institute, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department will discuss a number of related topics. Such topics include survival sex among LGBTQ youth in New York City; the use of digital technologies in human trafficking; efforts to identify victims of human trafficking; and medical treatment of survivors.

Attendees can earn one CEU credit at no additional cost. Students will be admitted free with ID from any college.

“Even in the twenty-first century, even in America, unimaginable and horrific forced bondage continues,” said Katherine Conway-Turner, president of Buffalo State. “Fear, shame, coercion, and brutal violence stand between modern-day slaves and freedom. We are grateful to the SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines program for helping us fund this program to bring not just awareness but also solutions to this intolerable assault on individual dignity.”

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