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Surviving Slavery: Sex Trafficking in South Florida

This collaborative faculty research initiative will focus on the problem of sex trafficking and more specifically the gap in outreach efforts to victims by organizations and government agencies. The inspiration for the initiative was the recent “Out of Bondage: Combating Sex Trafficking in South Florida” symposium, which was comprised of speakers from the Florida State Legislature, the Federal and State Attorney’s Office, and Florida State Department of Children and Families, with one panel member from a survivor group. During the Q&A sessions, the repeated question from the audience was, “How can we help?”

The goal of this research cluster is to position FAU, with its unique population of working-class and immigrant students, as a place where the outreach programs of such organizations can not only be more effective in reaching victims of this crime, but also allow communities targeted by sex traffickers to speak back to the organizations helping survivors about their unique needs. The research of Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty associates, with its unique focus on women, gender, and sexuality, means that FAU faculty are especially qualified to work as mediators who can help frame a productive exchange between local LGBTQ and ethnic minority communities and the organizations spearheading efforts to combat sex trafficking in Palm Beach County.


This initiative will be led and administered by Elena Machado (English), Josephine Beoku-Betts (Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies),  Jane Caputi Betts (Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies), Mark Harvey (Sociology), Talitha Leflouria (History), Bernadette Lange (Nursing), and Sika Dagbovie-Mullins (English). Funding is made possible through the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board.

 Any faculty or students interested in participating in one or both of these research groups should contact the principal investigators mentioned above. 

 Last Modified 4/7/14