Dec. 4, 2018 — Members of academia and law enforcement recently suggested methods to combat human trafficking during a daylong symposium at the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion in the University of Houston's M.D. Anderson Library.
The event, "Human Trafficking in 2018 & Beyond," provided a multifactorial approach to human trafficking, and was co-sponsored by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs and Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the UH Law Center.
"I would like to thank all of the participants for sharing their expertise in fighting human trafficking," said Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano, director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, and an adjunct professor. "Human trafficking is a gross violation of human rights and is a crime against humanity, which is why education and awareness is key, as is cooperation between all levels in society."
The symposium's first speaker was Michelle Bouchard, president of HealthCorps who discussed how to build resilience to safeguard America's youth from human trafficking.
The conference's first panel included Elisa Ortega Vlazquez, a research professor in international law at the Autonomous National University of Mexico, Sherri Zack, an Assistant U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Texas and chairwoman of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance, Jennifer Hohman, an anti-trafficking advocate and the founder of Fight for Us and Houston 20, and Marianela Acuña Arreaza, executive director of the Fe Y Justicia Worker Center. Edward Gallagher, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas and an adjunct professor who teaches Human Trafficking Law at the Law Center, served as the moderator.
The following panel, "Human Trafficking: Health, Public Health and Health Law" featured Frances Recknor, a clinical assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine's Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Patricia Ravelo Blancas, a professor and researcher at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico, Phoung Nguyen, an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and the program director of the school's Anti-Human Trafficking Program, and Emily Freeborn, a senior human trafficking counselor for the city of Houston. López de la Osa Escribano moderated the discussion.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman began the next panel, "Human Trafficking: Policy and Business Dimension." Additional speakers were Mario Madrazo Ubach, the director general of Information and Investigation at the National Migration Institute in Mexico, Nikolay Marinov, a UH associate professor of political science, and James Caruthers, a senior staff attorney at Children at Risk. Pablo Pinto, director of the Hobby School of Public Affairs' Center for Public Policy, moderated the talk.
Speakers in the final panel, "Human Trafficking: The Victim and Society," were Patricia Holmes, an attorney and author of the book, "Searching for Pilar," Constance Rossiter, program director for the Trafficked Persons Assistance Program at YMCA international Services, Elise Griesmeyer de Broeck, senior managing attorney for the Crime Victims Assistance Program at the Catholic Charities, St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance, Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia, program manager of the Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery at Arizona State University, and Kaylen Runyan, a community education specialist for United Against Human Trafficking. Diane McManus, a clinical supervising attorney in the civil practice clinic at the Law Center, served as the moderator.