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FGCU Invites Public, Media to Attend Human Trafficking Conference Feb. 1-3
1/18/2006

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University invites the public and media to attend the public forum and national Training of Trainers Conference "Human Trafficking: Identity, Rescue and Restore" Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 1-3 at FGCU to raise awareness and provide training on human trafficking issues.

Human trafficking has become an estimated $7 to $10 billion global industry, the Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking says. The U.S. Department of Justice believes 18,000 to 50,000 victims are annually trafficked into the United States with Florida receiving a high percentage of those individuals.

The forum begins 5 p.m., Wednesday with conference pre-registration, a reception and a welcome from President William C. Merwin in the Student Union ballroom.

Thursday's sessions begin 8:30 a.m. in the ballroom with introductions of Doug Molloy, chief assistant in the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Florida Middle District; Anna Rodriguez, founder of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking; and Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter and Lee County Deputy Charlie Ferrante,

Thursday's events include the documentary "Look Beneath the Surface" and a panel discussion "The Issue of Human Trafficking from All Sides" with Lou DeBaca and T. March Bell of the U.S. Department of Justice; Oscar Olguin of the Florida Migrant Interstate Program at FGCU; Stan Strauss, supervisor of the FBI's Civil Rights Division; Steve Wagner, director of Trafficking of Persons Program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Donna Widdell, supervisor of the Miami Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The conference continues 7:30 a.m. Friday with a continental breakfast followed by the documentary "The Fields of Mudan" and a Report on Research of Trafficking Worldwide by Dr. Alex Franco of San Diego State University. A Community Partnerships Model is presented followed by three workshop sessions on various topics.

Attendees may attend the conference as participants of the Training of Trainers program, which prepares professionals to offer presentations about human trafficking issues.

Registration is $295 for law enforcement and legal services personnel, and $145 for all others. CEU credit is awarded for an additional $30. Proceeds benefit the Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking.

Tickets to attend the public forum are available for purchase at the Alico Arena box office in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145 beginning Monday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

FGCU, Florida Migrant Interstate Program at FGCU, Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking, the News-Press, Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva, the Naples Daily News, Bonita Daily News, Lee County Sheriff's Office, Collier County Sheriff's Office and Coalition against Human Trafficking of Southwest Florida are sponsoring the event.

For more information, media representatives should contact Genelle G. Grant at (239) 822-7865 or ggrant@fgcu.edu.

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