Garcia Robles is Coordinator of Anti-Trafficking in the Organization of American States (OAS). The symposium continues April 24. Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. will offer opening remarks.
Texas Border Business
McAllen, Texas – South Texas College opened its annual event dedicated to raising community awareness about the pervasiveness of the labor and sex Trafficking trades, both around the world and in our own neighborhoods.
STC presented its annual Human Trafficking symposium “Mas Alla De La Frontera: Global Responses to Human Trafficking” on April 22. The event’s third and final day will take place on Tuesday, April 24 at STC’s Cooper Center located at 3201 W. Pecan Ave. in McAllen.
The event is a forum for networking and training opportunities for professionals and practitioners within related fields, and ultimately to take part in the larger international conversation about how to stop this insidious crime. Students and members of the community are invited to the event.
“The conference is about creating an awareness of trafficking in general. It provides a forum for dialogue about these issues, and it provides a means of educating people about trafficking,” said Jennifer Bryson Clark, Associate Professor of Political Science and Conference Committee co-chair.
“I think this year the conference is really pertinent because we are seeing the criminalization of migration,” Clark said. “We want to let people understand the dynamics taking place in Central America including why people are fleeing and dispel some of these myths we are seeing in certain circles in our country right now.”
The 13th Annual Conference on Human Trafficking has been co-organized this year by the Women’s Studies Committee of South Texas College, Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Department of Criminal Justice along with numerous scholars, activists, immigration lawyers, the business community, diplomats, journalists and law enforcement agents.
All have gathered at the conference to discuss complexities with special emphasis on migration from Central America to the southern border of the United States. The conference covers all aspects of human trafficking including push factors, the intersection between smuggling and trafficking, and servitude in destination countries.
“When I reviewed the agenda for this conference, it struck me as to how much work and preparation has gone into today, and the idea that you are not only exploring the consequences of human trafficking on the North American continent but in the Middle East and African continent as well,” said Congressman Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, who opened the conference. “Human trafficking, as I’m sure you will explore throughout the day, involves so much more. Those of you who are here today and who are involved day in and day out studying this issue know that the idea of human trafficking can mean so many different things.”
“At the end of the day, what we are really talking about is a human condition where people who are very vulnerable and desperate are moved in their minds with the hope that they are going somewhere better, but instead they find themselves in a much deeper and darker place,” Vela said.
Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. will open the final day of speakers at 8:30 a.m. on April 24. Keynote speaker will be Kirsta Melton, Deputy Criminal Chief of the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Unit of the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
For more details about the event, please contact Jennifer Bryson Clark, Chair of the Women’s Studies Committee at [email protected] or visit: https://academicaffairs.southtexascollege.edu/womens_studies/conference/index.html
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