Fighting Modern Day Slavery

On Thursday, January 11, YWCA Greenwich will host a provocative discussion about the fight to end human trafficking, charge abusers with crimes, and provide support for victims. Thirty local non-profits and houses of worship have also signed on to partner with the YWCA in this effort to raise awareness of this hideous crime. The event will begin at 6:30 pm at the YWCA at 259 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT.
 
“Each year, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by choosing a topic he would have cared deeply about,” said Mary Lee Kiernan, President and CEO, YWCA Greenwich. “With more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history, this is a battle society has to take on and win; and we believe Dr. King would have been at the forefront of this new fight for human freedom.”
 
The YWCA has organized a powerhouse panel of influencers who are tackling the issue of modern day slavery head on:  Moderator, Krishna Patel, General Counsel and Director of Justice Initiatives, Grace Farms Foundation, and former Deputy Chief of National Security and Major Crimes in the District of Connecticut; Jillian Gilchrest, Director of Health Professional Outreach, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Chair, Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council; Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families; Rod Khattabi, Director of Safety and Justice Initiatives Advisor, Grace Farms Foundation, and former Head of Homeland Security for the State of Connecticut; and Vincent Nappo, Lawyer, PCVA Law Offices, Seattle, Washington, and partner on the case against Backpage.com, a classified ad website used by human traffickers to sell sex, including with children.  
 
Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry.  According to the Polaris Project, 20.9 million people around the world are denied their freedom and enslaved by traffickers.  In the U.S., it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of men, women and children who are forced into prostitution or forced labor and stripped of their freedoms. It’s a phenomenon that affects every city and town and is often hidden from plain sight.  According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline records, there have been 594 cases of human trafficking reported in Connecticut since 2007. Fifty-five cases were reported in 2016 and 28 cases reported between January and June 2017.     
 
The event panel will discuss the issue and the work they’re doing, including the use of Big Data, to identify and track traffickers and victims.  Importantly, the discussion will also include how survivors are being helped and what the general public can do to support both victims and law enforcement.  
 
The event is free and open to the public. You can reserve a seat by sending an email to rsvp@ywcagreenwich.org.  For questions, contact Joan Mockler at 203-869-6501, ext. 104 or j.mockler@ywcagreenwich.org
 
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