Georgia State College of Law hosted its 25th annual Law Review Symposium “Prioritizing Prevention in Human Trafficking: Research, Innovation and Advocacy,” on Oct. 23.
The virtual symposium brought together many of the nation’s leading authorities on human trafficking. The speakers, which included experts on legal, medical, social science, technological, and private sector aspects of the issue, aimed to identify strategies for preventing the harm of human trafficking.
Susan Coppedge, the keynote speaker and former Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, opened the symposium by emphasizing that while the prosecution of the perpetrators and protection of survivors, the biggest priority should be prevention.
“We are recognizing it is better to prevent this crime all together, and efforts must be increased to address the root causes of trafficking, the vulnerabilities,” she said. “These vulnerabilities can include economic instability, housing and food insecurity, lack of legal status in the country, inequality among gender and ethnic groups, lack of educational opportunities and sexual orientation, to name a few.”
Following the keynote address, the first panel focused on advocacy, reinforcing the importance of connecting research to advocacy. Panelists included DeKalb County Juvenile Court Judge Fatima El-Amin, YouthSpark’s Dorsey Jones and Delta Airlines’ counsel Meg Taylor. Moderated by Cheryl Naja of the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network, the panel offered important insights from both public and private sector stakeholders, while emphasizing the importance of survivors’ perspectives.
The symposium’s second panel focused on the importance of evidence-based research in developing responses to human trafficking. Professor Kathleen Kim of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, identified critical structural issues that have been overlooked to the detriment of progress on human trafficking. University of Kansas professor Hannah Britton highlighted the essential role of social science in developing policy responses and UIC John Marshall Law School, Chicago professor Samuel Jones highlighted how research can help underserved populations, such as boys, be seen.
The symposium’s final panel included professor Janie Chuang of American University’s Washington College of Law, Dr. Kimberly Chang of Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., the University of Washington’s Dr. Kirsten Foot and Wellesley College’s Dr. Jennifer Musto. The panelists explored innovative strategies in international law, health care, journalism and technology, emphasizing the need to focus vulnerable populations, employ trauma-informed practices and ensure interventions do no harm.
Jonathan Todres, Georgia State Law Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law, moderated the second and third panels and gave the symposium’s closing remarks.
“The symposium provided a rare opportunity to bring thought-leaders from numerous disciplines together to strategize about how we actually prevent the harm of human trafficking from occurring,” said Todres. “The ideas and insights shared by today’s speakers have the potential to make a really significant impact on the effort to address human trafficking.”
The symposium, which had been postponed due to COVID-19, was organized by both last year’s Law Review symposium editors, Michael Foo and Taylor Lin, and current Law Review symposium editors, Rebecca Hu and Ellen Min, with Todres’ support.
“We are both incredibly happy with how the symposium turned out, especially because having a virtual event allowed individuals from all over the nation to attend,” said Hu and Min. “We thank all of our speakers and everyone that helped us in making the virtual symposium a reality.”
Read the symposium issue of the Georgia State Law Review to learn more.