UN Association to Hold Forum on Human Trafficking

by ekramer on April 9, 2010

The Louisville Chapter of the United Nations Association is holding forum on human trafficking this weekend. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.

Many people call it modern-day slavery. And on Sunday panelists who work with victims of this crime and others who educate lawmakers and the public on the issue will participate in the forum.

Matt Hanka, president of the Louisville chapter, says human trafficking is an issue in our own region.

“About 25 percent of the victims of human trafficking are here in the southeast United States,” he says. “Mainly they’re women, young women, and many of them are working in restaurants, hotels, domestics or in the sex industry.”

Hanka says the panel will include people who work with victims of trafficking, including Marissa Castellano of Catholic Charities of Louisville.

“Marissa’s going to look at it from a local perspective,” he says. “She provides educational programs on human trafficking victims. She works with victims themselves. She works with trying to identify potential victims of human trafficking.”

Hanka also says the recession can exacerbate the problem.

“It’s taking advantage of a unique situation— economy’s bad, if I need some labor, I need some help these are some channels that people can use,” he says. “In some instances, they may get paid as a way of bargaining their entry into the United States, or their entry into Kentucky, or their entry into Louisville.”

The US government estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked to this country annually.

The forum is at 3 p.m., Sunday, at Spalding University’s Egan Leadership Center.

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