Ending Human Trafficking In Central Florida Focus Of Three-Day Event

Knights for Social Justice is raising awareness around human trafficking this week with a three-day event featuring panel discussions with local experts and a documentary screening. This week’s events are made possible with the support of McCain Institute.

Florida consistently ranks high in the U.S. for human trafficking. Florida is currently third in the U.S., just one of many facts that students will emphasize beginning Monday, March 25, with a table in front of the Student Union from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

“There is a whole world of abuse and slavery happening around us, but it’s largely invisible unless you know what to look for,” said Jackie Reiss, a sociology master’s student, and president of Knights for Social Justice.

The scale of those atrocities and the steps local law enforcement, non-profits and judicial officials are taking to end human trafficking is the focus of a panel discussion on Tuesday from 10 a.m.- noon. The panel includes speakers from Florida Abolitionist, the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, Shut Out Trafficking and Paving the Way. Following a lunch break, current research and a recent book about human trafficking in Central Florida will be shared, including research by doctoral student Madelyn Diaz.

Diaz is developing a statistical approach to studying human trafficking and identifying markers that could indicate a higher prevalence of trafficking within a certain county. The end goal is to create a system that future researchers can use to advance their analysis.

“Most of the data available is new and underdeveloped,” Diaz said. “So developing a methodology is important.”

The event continues Wednesday with a screening of the 2017 documentary “I am Jane Doe,” a powerful, character-driven documentary that follows the real cases of American girls enslaved in the child sex trade. Participants will have the opportunity following the film to ask questions on how they can get involved to combat human trafficking.

“This event is built around spurring action. We want people to walk away ready to get to work,” Reiss said.




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