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Exposing Human Trafficking Topic for Saint Leo University Symposium in Duluth

February 11, 2016

The Human Services Department of Saint Leo University’s Gwinnett Education Center will present Exposing Human Trafficking on Saturday, February 20.

Jeff Shaw, attorney and director of Out of Darkness ministry, and Loronda Giddens, an advocate for human trafficking survivors will discuss this modern day slavery. Dr. Felicia Wilson, associate professor of human services will be the facilitator for a question-and-answer segment after the presentation. The event, which takes place 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free and lunch will be provided.

A study conducted by the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 looked at the sex trade in eight American cities—Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Mo., Miami, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington. The study showed that sex trafficking was on the rise in the Atlanta area from 2003 to 2007.  Some studies said there is a range of 200 to 300 girls trafficked each month and Atlanta was named by the FBI as one of 14 U.S. cities with the highest rate of children used in prostitution. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) released a study in May 2014, Human Trafficking in Georgia: A Survey of Law Enforcement.

“The 206 participating agencies reported a total of 190 cases of human trafficking in which at least one victim was identified [oftentimes cases have more than one victim],” the report stated. “Of those 190 investigations, the majority involved the sexual exploitation of children, almost one-third involved adult sex trafficking, and only a few labor trafficking cases [involving both minor and adult victims] were documented.”

Human trafficking “is a crime that impacts not only the direct victim, but, communities as well, said Dr. Wilson, an organizer of the event. “Participants will learn how human trafficking is impacting metro Atlanta and how to recognize those who are being victimized.”

Shaw is director of Out of Darkness, which is the anti-trafficking ministry of the Atlanta Dream Center, a 501c3 tax exempt organization. The ministry’s purpose, according to its website, is to “reach, rescue, and restore all victims of commercial sexual exploitation, that the glory of God may be known.” Exploitation may take the form of stripping, pornography, prostitution, or sex trafficking.

Giddens, a victims advocate for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, trains professionals about domestic minor sex trafficking, gender responsiveness and child sexual abuse prevention. In addition, she works with youths in secure facilities to prevent and build awareness of bullying, teen dating violence, and domestic minor sex trafficking.  She was appointed as the 2015 work group chair for the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce.

The symposium will take place at Saint Leo University’s Gwinnett Education Center, 3555 Koger Blvd., Clarkston Building, Suite 105, Duluth, GA  30096. While the event is free, registration is required. RSVP at: http://www.saintleo.edu/education-centers/locations/gwinnett-education-center/exposing-human-trafficking.aspx.

For more information, email felicia.wilson@saintleo.edu.

The symposium will be of interest to students, concerned citizens, human service practitioners, and law enforcement personnel.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and a capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from any location. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Through these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.

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