Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CCSO To Participate In Human Trafficking Discussion Thursday

Human trafficking will be the topic of a panel discussion featuring members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at Ave Maria University’s Golden Gate campus on Thursday.

The public is invited to attend the presentation, titled “Combating Human Trafficking", from 12:15-1:15 p.m. at Ave Maria School of Law Library, 1025 Commons Circle, on the west side of Vineyards Boulevard. Attendees can park in any available spot in the parking lot that surrounds the law library.

Featured panelists include CCSO Detective Charles Frost, CCSO Victim Advocate Marisol Schloendorn, Laura Germino, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), and Ave Maria Law Professor Elizabeth Donovan.

Victim Advocate Schloendorn will give opening remarks and introduce the panel. Ms. Germino will address her work with CIW, a community-based group organized to bring fair wages and labor practices to the agricultural fields of Florida. Detective Frost will explain CCSO’s Anti-Trafficking Unit’s efforts to educate Collier County residents about human trafficking, coordinate with government and non-government agencies, and investigate the leads his Office receives. Professor Donovan will discuss her work in the Law School’s Women’s Immigrant Rights Law Clinic, and the role of task forces and coalitions in coordinating efforts among law enforcement, government and non-government agencies, and community members.

The panel discussion is the first in a series of events the Collier County Coalition Against Human Trafficking is planning for 2011, underscoring the Coalition’s renewed commitment to educate the community about slavery in Collier County.

The Coalition was established in December 2004 following the discovery of human trafficking in Collier County. The Coalition is a volunteer organization which includes service providers, law enforcement, and community members who volunteer their expertise and time to educate the community about human trafficking and provide services to victims once they are found.

Recently, efforts began to increase the visibility and activity of the Coalition, including an alliance with Ave Maria School of Law.

In November 2010, the Coalition hosted “A Day Without Slavery,” which drew more than 500 people to Immokalee Community Park. The event included information tables staffed with volunteers from a range of government and non-government agencies, including The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Lutheran Social Services, CIW, and the Collier County Health Department. CCSO deputies installed bicycle lights and members of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children handed out child identification kits. Ave Maria School of Law students helped children create art, play soccer and jump rope, and have their faces painted.