UFV to host human trafficking and slavery awareness event

Slavery, indentured servitude, trafficking in human organs, and involuntary prostitution don’t sound like activities condoned in a free and democratic society, but these social ills exist in Canada today, according to human rights organizations.

The University of the Fraser Valley is hosting FREE ME, a day-long symposium on these issues on Saturday, April 6.

FREE ME is a human trafficking and slavery awareness event hosted by the UFV Global Development Institute and the local advocacy group I Am End. The purpose of the event is to educate people throughout the region about the scope and extent of human trafficking and awareness and to encourage them to resist these attacks on the vulnerable in British Columbia as well as in the rest of the world.

I Am End is a group with a mandate of ending human slavery and trafficking that has a chapter based in Abbotsford. UFV’s Global Development Institute is working the group to organize the symposium.

The April 6 event will run from 9 am to 3pm and it is open to students, professionals, and the general public. The event consists of three segments of the hard-hitting documentary Half the Sky, discussions and questions with a panel of experts, a catered lunch, and the opportunity to attend two workshops facilitated by the panelists.

The panelists include:

Michele Giordano from the Warm Zone, a local NGO working primarily with women who live on the street.

Catherine Dawson from UFV, a researcher who specializes in the use of the internet in exploitation of children, luring and trafficking.

Jassy Bindra of the RCMP, Pacific Human Trafficking Coordinator

Gwen Bollant on the trafficking of human organs

Tamara O’Doherty, specialist in sex work industry

Students can attend the symposium for a $20 fee; the cost for others is $101.

“We think the symposium will be of interest to teachers, social workers, police officers, and members of the general public,” says Gary Fehr, a faculty member at UFV who has a hand in the symposium.

He emphasizes that people who feel trapped in involuntary situations of slavery or human trafficking should contact police and seek counseling.

The Global Development Institute is a UFV research institute comprised of faculty and staff who promote and encourage research on sustainable human and community development in order to facilitate positive change for those living in vulnerable conditions.

To register or for more information please contact:

Danira Sehomerovic at danira.sehomerovic@student.ufv.ca or

Garry Fehr at garry.fehr@ufv.ca

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