Sisters’ new take on human trafficking

On Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, a Human Trafficking Conference will be held in Kilworth Memorial Chapel from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The conference is sponsored by Human Trafficking: Stop the Demand Tacoma, the Sisters of St. Dominic of Tacoma and Associates, Sisters of the Holy Names, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the Spirituality Service and Social Justic Office of Puget Sound, and the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center.

The featured speakers for this conference will be Kathleen Morris, Erik Nicholson and Linda Smith. Morris, the program director of the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN), will speak about Washington State’s response to human trafficking and the services provided by WARN. Nicholson, the International Director of the Guest Worker Membership Program for the United Farm Workers of America, will speak about how our food is harvested and why opportunities for increased debt bondage and trafficking are growing. Smith, the President and Founder of Shared Hope International, will speak on how Shared Hope International responds to trafficking.

During the conference there will also be tables located downstairs in Kilworth, which will provide students with information on how they can get more involved in other various organizations.

“This conference is an opportunity for students to get more involved with the community and the chance to get to learn alongside community leaders in Tacoma,” Wright said.

It was nine months ago that they contacted the university requesting permission to use Kilworth Chapel as a venue for an event. At that time, not much was known about the event or what it entailed. As time went on, the university got more involved and is now very excited about it.

“It lines up well with some of the university’s mission statement and messages,” Chaplain Dave Wright said.

Human trafficking, which violates many social codes and contracts, is a global problem that is extremely difficult to solve because of its complexities. It has become especially prevalent on the West coast and has become more visible in the media. For example, Hollywood’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo touches on the subject of human trafficking. “It’s something that’s out there but we’re not as involved in because it is such a global and complicated problem. This conference gives us a chance to understand,” Wright said.

Those interested in registering online were required to do so by Nov. 5. However, students, faculty, staff and others are welcome to register at the door. The conference is free and will be held in Kilworth Chapel.