The U.S. State Department estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children who are victims of forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time. Women and girls represent 98% of those subjected to forced commercial sexual exploitation, and 56% of those exploited for non-sexual labor. Although the international community has been fighting this industry for more than ten years, human trafficking has not only continued, but is now more profitable than ever. We cannot allow this to continue.
This past summer, the Women’s Center created an innovative anti-trafficking Task Force comprised of University faculty and staff, state and local legislators, NGOs, and other community leaders who are interested in working to eradicate the trade of human beings. The Task Force is focused on supporting the work of its members, increasing community awareness, reviewing potential policy development, and researching the contexts and consequences of forced labor. Through partnerships with local businesses and various stakeholders, the Women’s Center Task Force is poised to gather real and specialized data to support education, influence policy, and increase public awareness around human trafficking issues.
The anti-trafficking Task Force is currently working on a number of noteworthy projects including:
- May 2nd, 2013 – Panel discussion on immigration reform and human trafficking. Panelists will discuss various aspects of immigration reform from their respective fields and engage the audience in a comprehensive discussion on immigration policies needed to promote a thriving economy and protect worker’s human rights.
- A training program scheduled for the spring of 2012 for attorneys and other business professionals to build awareness regarding human trafficking, the laws in place to combat it and encourage corporate accountability. The program will highlight the contexts in which trafficking can occur and cover the criminal and civil legal frameworks for prevention and punishment
- Community outreach forums to be held throughout 2012 that will feature film screenings, panel discussions, and other presentations that build awareness of the many forms of bonded and forced labor, including sex trafficking, throughout the world, as well as the devastating impact the traffic in human beings has on its victims and broader society
 International Labour Organization (ILO), Forced Labour Statistics, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_decl_fs_20_en.pdf (2005).