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January 18, 2011 > Freedom Summit sheds light on human-trafficking

Freedom Summit sheds light on human-trafficking

Submitted By Robin Shepherd

Human-trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the modern world, and it's happening in the Bay Area. Yet many Bay Area residents are unaware that trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery exist so close to home, while others have heard of the problem but don't know how to recognize the signs or who to contact if they suspect trafficking is taking place in their communities.

Freedom Summit 2011 returns to the Bay Area for a second time to educate and equip members of the community to stand against human-trafficking. Event speakers include Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University Professor and former U.S. Secretary of State; Dr. David Batstone, President and Co-founder, Not for Sale Project; Lt. John Vanek of the San Jose Police Department Human Trafficking Task Force; and Polaris Project Executive Director and CEO Bradley Myles.

"This event is a catalyst to move the community conversation forward and to engage neighborhoods, schools, businesses and churches for effective response," said Betty Ann Boeving, Freedom Summit 2011 Event Chair. "Our goal is to help attendees understand what they can do in 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 months to help us ensure a Bay Area free of human-trafficking."

The Freedom Summit Conference & Expo brings together students, civic and non-profit organizations, churches, law enforcement and policy experts, health care professionals and others interested in working together to respond effectively to human-trafficking and forced labor, which is a growing problem in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The event, co-sponsored by Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition and Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, will be held January 21st and 22nd at Harbor Light Church in Fremont.

"There is a growing coalition committed to equip people to make a positive difference. This includes helping people in several ways: to be informed regarding Bay Area human-trafficking issues, to recognize and report exploitation, to make their voices heard regarding local laws and policies, to share information in their communities, and to support anti-trafficking organizations as donors or volunteers," said Boeving.

Freedom Summit Expo hosts over 30 anti-trafficking organizations providing information, resources and training for community education and engagement. Event highlights include a film screening of "Call+Response" plus performances by music artist and justice advocate Sara Groves, and Jubilee. A meeting will be held for church leaders with interest in the Bay Area Anti-trafficking Coalition at 11 a.m. on January 21st.

According to Tracy Van Zanten, a Fremont resident and Freedom Summit volunteer, "In my experience, as people learn more about human trafficking, they're able to take action - such as choosing to purchase products from companies that uphold fair labor practices; supporting organizations that work to rescue victims or provide aftercare; writing to local government officials to advocate for improved laws; and sharing what they've learned with others. With everyone working together, we can help bring an end to modern-day slavery."

January 2011 is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Other resources:
24/7 Human Trafficking Resources & Victim Support Hotline: 1-888-373-7888;
San Jose Police Department - Information regarding SJPD Human Trafficking Task Force;
Alameda County D.A.'s office model program, H.E.A.T Watch, in conjunction with
Fremont and Oakland Police Departments and other partners;
National Human Trafficking Resource Center,

Freedom Summit 2011
Friday and Saturday, January 21 and 22
4 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. (Fri.)
8:30 a.m. - 6:45 p.m. (Sat.)
Harbor Light Church
4760 Thornton Ave., Fremont
(510) 744-2233
Tickets: $40 student, $60 regular

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