Learn About Sex Trafficking in Central Florida

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021
Time: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Zoom. Register via Eventbrite.

Did you know Florida is third in the nation in the number of sex trafficking cases reported? Because learning about this topic is so relevant to the residents of our state, the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI), the School of Public Safety and the West Campus Criminal Justice Club invite you to a panel on human trafficking in our area.

Titled “From Tip to Transformation: Sex Trafficking in Central Florida,” the panel will include professionals committed to educating, preventing and advocating for change. Together, we will dispel the myths and learn the tools to spot and assist victims. We can then work on ending the violence and understanding the stigma faced by trafficking victims and consensual sex workers.

“As a College, our goal is to educate and to create well-rounded citizens of the world,” said Jennifer Keefe, part-time faculty, humanities and Lake Nona Campus PJI coordinator, who is one of the event’s organizers. “As a Peace and Justice Institute, our goal is to bring awareness to the issues of peace and justice in our community. People forced into sex trafficking, or any kind of human trafficking, are victims. By talking about their stories, we build understanding in the community of what has become a serious issue we cannot ignore.”

The event will feature two panels and will be hosted by Lauren Sykes, professor, criminal justice technology. The first panel, focusing on awareness and prevention through the lens of law enforcement and the judicial system, will feature Jeff Goltz, executive dean, School of Public Safety; Chris Paolella, professor, history; Aaron Blankenship, with the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation; and Judge Wilfredo Martinez.

The second panel, which will focus on advocacy and education, will feature Tomas Lares, president of United Abolitionists, a non-profit whose mission is to combat human trafficking; Sue Aboul-Hosn, regional human trafficking coordinator with the Department of Children and Families; Jan Edwards, a local philanthropist who fights for human trafficking victims; and Jessica Wickey, program director and instructor with the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College, who will discuss how UCF prepares hospitality students to spot potential human trafficking victims.

In addition to the panels, a short film will be shown about sex trafficking in Central Florida and there will be a participant Q&A.

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