Summit on trafficking aims to educate, promote change

Students, lay people and women religious gathered for a prayer service April 29. (Record Photos by Marnie McAllister)

Students, lay people and women religious gathered for a prayer service April 29. (Record Photos by Marnie McAllister)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor

“Human Trafficking Summit: A Look at Modern-Day Slavery in Kentucky” will be held on Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St.

Local faith leaders — including priests, religious, parish staff, educators and other laity — are invited to attend the event along with business leaders, policy-makers, law enforcement officials and others interested in this topic. Organizers hope that attendees will take what they learn back to their parishes and other groups to which they belong.

“For us to continue to have an impact on human trafficking, people have to engage from all sectors of the community,” said Marissa Castellanos, who manages the human trafficking program for Catholic Charities of Louisville. She works statewide to aid victims of trafficking and to educate people about the problem.

Curbing trafficking in Kentucky, she said, will require “not just getting informed, but coming together and then committing in a specific way. I think that’s what will happen at the summit. We hope it will have a ripple effect so we can come up with new ways to come up with lasting change on this issue.”

The keynote speaker at the event will be Ernie Allen, founder and first chairman of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The summit will also include a panel discussion with survivors of trafficking and presentations on a variety of topics related to trafficking, including:

  • Labor Trafficking: The Prevalence of Exploitation Among Workers
  • Kentucky’s Commitment to Combat Human Trafficking
  • The Intersection between the Strip Club Industry and Sex Trafficking
  • Sex Trafficking in Louisville Metro: A look at Backpage.com
  • Human Trafficking Victim Service Providers: Resources and Needs
  • The Impacts of Human Trafficking Crimes on Local Economies

Participants in the summit also will receive information about how they can help, Castellanos said.

“The materials will include a list of action ideas,” she said. “We want to give people very tangible things to think about. Some will be very immediate. We’ll have some letters typed up — that we’ll ask people to sign — asking (lawmakers) for very specific things. We’ll have the envelopes ready. And we will mail it for them.

“We’ll also have information on a specialty license plate. Proceeds go back to sex trafficking victims in the Commonwealth. Part of that will go to Catholic Charities,” Castellanos said. “There are some longer term commitments people can make. They might participate in a follow-up event. Or they might organize a group to do some follow-up action. We’ll challenge some folks to come up with policy internally about recognizing victims. We’ll have a nice list so people will clearly know what they can engage in.”

The cost to attend is $20. For more information, send an email to Castellanos at mcastellanos@archlou.org or cburnside@ftblaw.com. To register, visit endhumanslaveryky.com. Registration is limited to about 300.

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