Human trafficking summit to shine spotlight on modern-day slavery

· 4 min read

Human trafficking summit to shine spotlight on modern-day slavery

A month-long summit will shine a spotlight on modern-day slavery.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Human Trafficking and Migration Initiative’s Virtual Summit will kick off at 6 p.m. Oct. 3 with a live concert by Remedy Drive in the Nebraska Union’s Centennial Room. The concert is free and open to the public.

Remedy Drive is an alternative rock band led by Nebraska native David Zach. Zach, who was born in Omaha and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, also works for the anti-human trafficking organization the Exodus Road, which identifies and rescues those in slavery. Zach has been part of investigative teams with the organization on the ground in countries in Asia and Latin America.

In its 13th year, the annual conference is continuing as a virtual event, in part because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but also to allow for people from around the world to have the opportunity to learn from the expert lineup. Pre-recorded presentations will be posted to the site and will focus on topics such as health care and human rights; the modern-day slavery movement; domestic trafficking; and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Sriyani Tidball, a retired assistant professor of practice in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, is again organizing the summit, with support from the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at Nebraska.

“We wanted to make it as easy as possible,” Tidball said. “It worked very well last year. We had people from all over the world watching, and we were able to bring speakers from different places.”

Video presentations will begin appearing on the summit website Oct. 4, with a welcome from Chancellor Ronnie Green. On Oct. 6, viewers will be able to hear from a survivor of human trafficking, Keisha Walcott, who will present with Dr. Anita Ravi, CEO and co-founder of PurpLE Health Foundation, which has established medical care for human trafficking survivors.

In addition to the concert, another in-person event will be held during the summit. Kevin Bales, research director for the Rights Lab at Nottingham University in Sheffield, United Kingdom, will present and take questions during a journalism class led by Barney McCoy. The presentation and Q&A will be recorded and posted to the summit website.

The concert is sponsored by the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation and Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement.

A full list of presentations is as follows:

  • Oct. 4: A welcome to the UNL Human Trafficking and Migration Initiative.
  • Oct. 6: Dr. Anita Ravi and Keisha Walcott, “Financial health: Solving the health-poverty trap in human trafficking.”
  • Oct. 7: Leonard Rubenstein, lawyer, author and professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Drivers and consequences of violence against health care.”
  • Oct. 11: Amelia Watkins-Smith, doctoral student at the University of Nottingham and research associate in the Rights Lab, “A feminist analysis of Chinese bride trafficking.”
  • Oct. 12: Jason Pope, executive director and founder of the Rain Collective, and Leah Edwards, founder of the Kaart Consulting and lead researcher at Rain Collective, “Building connections and facilitating partnerships: Human trafficking in the Middle East and Gulf states.”
  • Oct. 14: Oana Burcu, Rights Lab, “Understanding risks of exploitation for vulnerable migrant workers in the U.K.”
  • Oct. 15: Rochelle Dalla, professor in Child, Youth and Family Studies at Nebraska, “Familial sex trafficking among the Bedia Caste of India: Defying the dominant human trafficking discourse.”
  • Oct. 19: Kevin Bales, research director, Rights Lab, Nottingham University, Sheffield, United Kingdom, presentation and talk-back with Nebraska students.
  • Oct. 20: Monti Narayan Datta, associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond, “Contemporary slavery and armed conflict: Introducing the CSAC database.”
  • Oct. 22: Davina Durgana, co-author and senior statistician for Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index and senior multilateral engagement adviser for the Minderoo Foundation, “Finding today’s slaves: Statistics in the fight against modern slavery.”
  • Oct. 25: Lucy Mahaffey, Marshall Scholar Communication Fellow, University of Nottingham, “Oklahoma’s response to human trafficking.”
  • Oct. 26: Judi gaiashkibos, executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and adviser and professor to the Native Daughters Projects in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, “Missing and murdered Indigenous women and children.”
  • Oct. 28: Christine Diindiisi McCleave, “Truth, healing and justice for Indian boarding schools.”
  • Oct. 29: Courtney Hillebrecht, director of the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, “Wrap of summit: What next?”

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