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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Freed
561-297-3022, lfreed@fau.edu

FAU’s College of Nursing Hosts Workshops on Modern-Day Slavery in South Florida

            BOCA RATON, FL (March 21, 2008) – Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is hosting two free workshops that will focus on modern-day slavery in South Florida.  Both workshops will take place on Friday, April 11 at 2912 College Ave., FAU’s Davie campus.  

            The morning workshop is titled “The Many Faces of Human Trafficking.”   This workshop, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Davie campus Student Union, Room 105, will familiarize participants with the nature and extent of the modern-day slavery problem in South Florida.   The afternoon workshop, titled “Developing Community Responses to End Human Trafficking,” will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Davie campus Liberal Arts Building, Room 331.   In order to attend the afternoon workshop, participants must have taken the morning workshop or demonstrate basic knowledge of the issue.    

The “Many Faces of Human Trafficking” workshop will cover the global surge in modern-day slavery, the brutality inflicted on victims, slavery in southeast Florida, the venues for human trafficking, the health consequences suffered by victims, the role of law enforcement, the politics and profitability of slavery, and the roles individuals, local community organizations and local governments can play in identifying and combating this violent crime.  Actual South Florida cases and examples from throughout Florida will be discussed. Participants will learn how to recognize the signs of modern-day slavery, and where to report any suspicious activities, businesses and persons.

“Developing Community Responses to End Human Trafficking” will cover Florida’s existing institutional, legal and community barriers to finding and freeing the victims.   The basics of organizing a local task force on human trafficking will be presented and discussed.   Participants will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned through an interactive small-group process facilitated by the workshop leaders.

            Nola Theiss, co-chair of the Lee County Florida Task Force on Human Trafficking, and Deputy Chief Robert Schwartz, an instructor with the Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI) at St. Petersburg College, will moderate the event.   Both will give details on how slavery in South Florida goes unrecognized, under-reported with few arrests and prosecutions of its perpetrators, and few rescues of its victims.  

           Theiss began her work on human trafficking through the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva. She led a community effort to form a human trafficking task force with the cooperation of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.   The resulting Lee County Task Force has been called a “model of citizen activism.” Theiss teaches and lectures on human trafficking, and works with community groups in developing community initiatives to prevent and expose modern-day slavery.   She is a former mayor of Sanibel Island, member of the Zonta Club of Sanibel Island, and president and CEO of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships.  Theiss conducts training on human trafficking and community initiatives to combat modern-day slavery throughout Florida, the United States and internationally.

            Schwartz retired in 2005 after a distinguished 22-year long career with the Atlantic City, New Jersey Police Department and 27 years as a law enforcement officer.  He served for eight years on the board of directors of the Atlantic City Women’s Center, a full-service social service organization providing assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Schwartz holds the distinction of being the first and only law enforcement officer to hold a position on the center’s board.  His experience as a law enforcement officer and victim’s advocate provides a unique perspective that law officers and victim advocates will find especially useful.

            Pre-registration for the workshop is required. Space is limited. Lunch is available for purchase.  Registration packets are available at info@floridaslavery.org or online at www.floridaslavery.org.   The registration deadline is Thursday, April 3.

            FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is hosting the program in cooperation with the Institute for Universal Human Rights, Inc. (IUHR) and the Regional Community Policing Institute at St. Petersburg College.   For further details, contact Nancy Fowler of the IUHR at contact@floridaslavery.org.

-FAU-

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