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MADISON - A prize-winning author known for his global research on modern-day slavery will deliver a free public lecture this month at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of a daylong symposium on human trafficking.
Madison native E. Benjamin Skinner, author of "A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery," will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30, in Ebling Auditorium in the Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive.
Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of Harvard Kennedy School and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, went undercover, when necessary, to infiltrate trafficking networks, slave quarries, urban child markets and illegal brothels. His work received the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, as well as a citation from the Overseas Press Club in its book category for 2008.
"We are excited to host Ben to bring awareness to the global issue of modern-day slavery," says professor Carolyn Heinrich, director of UW-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs, which is organizing the lecture and symposium.
"Modern-day slavery touches on many public policy issues, including international trade, legal, human rights, social welfare, labor, public health, economic and education," she says. "Yet, due to legal, territorial and institutional barriers-not to mention culturally ingrained practices -- it is a very difficult problem to address and resolve."
Skinner will also be part of the symposium, which will be held from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. in 8417 Sewell Social Sciences, 1180 Observatory Drive. Both events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.
The symposium features three panels of experts from academia, public policy, non-profits and law enforcement. Two of the panelists are La Follette graduates: Karina B. Silver, member of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee; and Marianna Smirnova, human trafficking policy specialist at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and chair of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee. They are part of the panel that will address the scope of the problem of modern-day slavery in Wisconsin.
In addition to the La Follette School, financial sponsors on campus include African Studies, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies/Brazil Initiative, Global Studies, International Institute, and the Wisconsin Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy. Lending support and assistance are Slave Free Madison and Madison Committee on Foreign Relations, and these campus units: the Center for Southeast Asia, Center for International Business Education and Research, Department of History, Havens Center, Law School, Political Science Department, Department of Population Health Sciences and Sociology Department.
The full schedule is available at: www.lafollette.wisc.edu/publicservice/slavery
Published articles from the Symposium by Karina Silver and Marianna Smirnova can be found at: www.lafollette.wisc.edu/publications/policyreports/policyreport20_1.pdf
Three SlaveFree Madison members spoke at the La Follette School Symposium on Modern-Day Slavery on April 30, 2010 on the UW-Madison campus.
Marianna Smirnova, human trafficking policy specialist at Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, talked about the current situation in Wisconsin and the efforts around the state to address human trafficking, including the Statewide Human Trafficking Protocol the OJA human trafficking committee is putting together. Smirnova is also a member of Milwaukee Rescue & Restore Coalition, and the coordinator of the Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee.
Karina Silver, a member of Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee, described a statewide survey on trafficking that the committee conducted 2007. She wrote the final report published early in 2008 under a contract with OJA. She worked for OJA as an intern, then a project assistant, then as a human trafficking specialist before becoming an analyst with the state budget office in 2007. The report is called Hidden in Plain Sight: A Baseline Survey of Human Trafficking in Wisconsin. “Human trafficking in all forms exists in Wisconsin in urban and rural areas,” Silver says. “The numbers in the report are likely the tip of the iceberg because trafficking is a hidden crime.”
JoAnn Gruber-Hagen, SlaveFree Madison chair, presented the challenges and opportunities available to volunteer community organizations seeking to address the issue of human trafficking, including: 1) Public awareness building; 2) Building agency awareness – law enforcement, medical, legal and human service providers; 3) Advocacy with local, state, national decision-makers; 4) Advocating for a coordinated network of concerned community organizations and agencies; and 5) Identifying resources to bring to bear upon human trafficking.