Brigham Young University will host its Fifth Annual Social Work Conference, this year focusing on “Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking through Research, Policy and Practice,” Thursday and Friday, Oct. 28-29, sponsored by the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair for Social Work and the Social Sciences.
Sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 4:30 p.m. both days at the BYU Conference Center northeast of the Marriott Center. Admission is free, and continuing education credits are available. To register, visit swevents.byu.edu/register.aspx.
“The topic of human trafficking is a global social phenomenon, and concerns over it cut across a wide swath of academic disciplines and government and NGO efforts,” said Jini Roby, conference chair and a BYU social work professor. “There are about four million people victimized by it each year, including 800,000 across national borders, and the U.S. government estimates that 17,000 of those victims are brought into the United States.
“It is the fastest growing form of organized transnational crime and the second largest form of trafficking, and it is second only to the illegal drug trade in profits, with $32 billion in estimated profit each year,” she said.
“With the increased visibility of human trafficking in the daily news, we feel that it is fitting that BYU lead out in the effort to understand and combat it, considering our respect for human dignity and the importance of supporting families,” said Roby.
Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves, the U.S. sister organization of Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest on-going human rights organization, will give the conference’s keynote address Friday at 3 p.m.
Other speakers at the conference will include Donna M. Hughes, a leading international researcher on trafficking of women and children; Virginia Sudbury, a Salt Lake City-based family law attorney; James Brewer Stewart of Macalester College, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the history of slavery and its abolition; BYU history professor Matthew E. Mason and law professor Shima Baradaran; Brett Parkinson, assistant U.S. attorney for Utah; and Utah immigration judge Dustin Pead.
Plenary sessions will explore the scope of human trafficking worldwide as well as the legal and human rights issues surrounding trafficking.
“The conference is designed to raise awareness of the economic, political, social, familial and psychological contexts in which human trafficking occurs and proliferates,” said Roby. “We hope to encourage collaboration among academics and relevant institutions in researching and exchanging information on trafficking practices.”
The conference is co-sponsored by BYU’s School of Family Life, Comprehensive Clinic, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Marriott School of Management, Women’s Studies and Center for the Study of Europe.
For more information, visit swevents.byu.edu or call the School of Social Work at (801) 422-3282.