Conference exposes scourge of human trafficking
January 28, 2008

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     Visions of the untold – and virtually unknown – story of human trafficking emerged in a three-day conference Scourge – Human Trafficking: Slavery in the 21st Century.Christine Dolan speaks with students after her presentation at the Scourge conference.
     Dr. Ron Petitte, director of the Center for International Leadership which cosponsored the conference with the International Development Center and Students Stopping the Trafficking of Persons, said the most important result of the program was increased awareness of the situation.
     “One of the students said it best,” he said. “Jessi Hundly said the conference made her realize the depths of the fall are significantly greater than she had imagined. The sheer evil of the situation struck so many. Everybody was picking up on the fact that this is evil.”
     Keynote speakers for the event included investigative journalist Christine Dolan, who spoke of the human face of victims of trafficking; Abraham Lee, with the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, who talked about the U.S. government’s response to the problem; Dr. Paul Boling, who addressed the question “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” and the Rev. Carter Johnson, who spoke on “Slavery, the Gospel, and Hope.”
     Because the problem of human trafficking is largely unknown, Dr. Petitte said, “Bryan is on the cutting edge by informing people. People have to be aware, but the vast majority are clueless. Until the Christian community is aware of the scourge, nothing is going to be done.”