Starting tonight and running through Sunday, April 3, the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology will host what organizers says is a first-of-its-kind conference, which will bring academics together to discuss one of the world's hottest topics: human trafficking.
The "Conference on Religion, Human Trafficking, and Modern Slavery" will focus on the issues of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and how religious organizations are working to solve the problems -- which include both forced prostitution and forced labor.
But faith-based groups aren't the only ones fighting back.
"We've been surprised at the number of groups working together on this," says Carl Raschke, a DU professor of religious studies who helped organize the conference. "Evangelical Christians and secular feminist organizations are not people that would regularly work together on international causes." But human trafficking, he says, "is one of those hot topics... Everybody wants to get involved."
The conference begins at 4 p.m. today with a talk on mobilizing students to stop human trafficking, which will be followed by a community lecture at 7 p.m. about the roots of modern-day slavery. The lecture, by Dr. James Stewart of Macalester College, founder of the group Historians Against Slavery, is free and open to the public.
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The rest of the conference is open to the public as well, although it's not free ($90 for full admission, $60 for one-day admission, $45 for students, $15 for DU students). Attendees can register online or buy tickets at the door.
Here's a sampling of the more than fifty talks to be given through Sunday:
"Demand Abolition: Tackling Sex Trafficking at Its Core", Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Hunt Alternatives Fund / Harvard University, Iliff Thd. Alumna
"Global Sex Trafficking: Feminist Debates and Dilemmas," Sue Ellen Charlton, Colorado State University; Jana Everett, University of Colorado-Denver
"Counter-Trafficking and Evangelism", Claude D'Estree, Human Trafficking Clinic
"Stories that Must Be Told: Survivor Rhetoric," Jenna Reno, Baylor University
"Islam and Its Relation to Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking," Bernard Freamon, Seton Hall Law School
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