Jan. 27, 2020 - To commemorate National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, experts in law, medicine and public policy deciphered the definitions, preventative measures, warning signs and other issues recently at the University of Houston Law Center.
"The way to address human trafficking is a multi-factorial approach," said Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano, Director for the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. "We thank the University of Houston and the sponsors for allowing us to speak and bring awareness toward this topic."
“Human Trafficking Training & Prevention” was co-hosted by the Law Center's Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, CHI St. Luke's Health, coordinator of the Houston Area Human Trafficking Health Care Consortium, Houston's Consulate General of Mexico and the University of Houston's College of Nursing, College of Medicine, Graduate College of Social Work, and Hobby School of Public Affairs. The event took place on Jan. 17
Attendees heard from two women who shared experiences from their unwitting involvement in what is one of the most profitable illicit industries around the world.
"It can only be described as modernized slavery," said the first woman. "The forced selling of a human takes away their rights and only values their body. In order to fix this problem, we need to cut it off at the source, which is the buyers who participate in this."
The second woman said that human traffickers target people of all backgrounds, and that awareness of the practice should be introduced in the education system at a young age.
"This crime doesn't discriminate," she said. "It shouldn't just be taught at universities. It should be taught with junior high and high school students as well."
Kimberly Williams, the Human Trafficking Project Coordinator at CHI Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, provided an overview of her work.
"The initial state is not the state they will always be in," Williams said. "We believe that they are more than victims - they are survivors. We then turn survivors into fighters."
Introductory remarks were delivered by Pablo Pinto, Director of the Center for Public Policy at the Hobby School of Public Affairs. Alicia Kerber-Palma, Consul General of Mexico in Houston, also served as a speaker.
The sponsors will now host a talk on April 17 at the University of Houston at Sugar Land’s College of Nursing during the Annual Spring Forum for Students and healthcare community, before the start of National Nurses Week in May.