Workshop to Discuss Human Trafficking, Immigration Issues

March 20, 2008

by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

Baylor University's School of Social Work will hold a workshop open to the community to discuss issues of human trafficking and immigration from 8:15 a.m. to noon Friday, April 11, in room 127 of the Baylor Law School.

Three speakers will address different topics related to these issues.
• Kate Rocke, chair of the Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking, will lead "A Discussion on Human Trafficking"
• Shannon MacCleery, staff attorney for Catholic Charities of Central Texas, will speak on "Immigration Law: Assisting Immigrant Survivors of Abuse and Crime"
• Richard Muñoz, attorney and director of the Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC), will discuss "Faith-Based Resources for Immigration."

"The idea for the workshop emerged from conversations I had with practitioners and leaders in organizations around Waco about this issue of human trafficking," said Dr. Kim Kotrla, assistant professor of social work at Baylor. "It quickly became apparent that people were interested in not only addressing this problem, but in learning more about what is now commonly referred to as 'modern day slavery.'"

Human trafficking--the exploitation of an individual using force, fraud or coercion for commercial sex or labor--affects Texas in a large way. The United States is a top destination for victims of this crime, and 25 percent of all identified human trafficking victims are found in Texas, Kotrla said.

"Because of the concentration in Texas, offering a workshop on the topic seemed like a worthy endeavor," she said. "Participants will not only gain a much better understanding about this crime in which human beings are bought and sold for profit, but will also learn how victims are recruited and controlled, as well as what their needs are upon rescue."

Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m. The event is open to the general community, but those who work with immigrant populations, such as people employed in healthcare, law enforcement, victim services, churches and legal services, are especially encouraged to attend, Kotrla said.

For more information, visit www.baylor.edu/social_work or contact Kotrla at (254) 710-4434.

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