ATLANTA – Mercer University's College of Continuing and Professional Studies will sponsor Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week, Jan. 10-17, on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.
"Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week is a student-generated event under the leadership of Eniabitobi Kuyinu, a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision Program," said Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling and human sciences and faculty sponsor for the initiative. "She works with these victims in her home country of Nigeria and has developed this initiative to help fight this disease in Georgia. Atlanta is one of the top cities for sex trafficking, according to the FBI. We must all be willing to stand as modern day abolitionists against this current scourge of slavery."
Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry worldwide, generating $32 billion annually. According to the United Nations, 4 million individuals are trafficked each year. Ninety percent of them are women and girls.
"We all need to come together to fight this disease – we do not want a world where children and women live in fear of the most horrendous crime that can be done to them," said Kuyinu. "Join us during the week's events to see how you can become involved in the fight. Someone you know may be at risk – you never know."
The week is a part of January's larger observance of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It begins on Friday, Jan. 10, with a showing of the documentary film "Nefarious: Merchant of Souls," 6-9 p.m., in the auditorium of Day Hall. The film exposes disturbing trends in modern sex slavery. It includes first-hand interviews with victims and traffickers, as well as expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders. Refreshments will be served.
Then, on Saturday, Jan. 11, the University will observe National Human Trafficking Awareness Day across the campus, as students, faculty, staff and community members host a Day of Empowerment for local at-risk girls and survivors of human sex trafficking.
A Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Exhibit will be on display in the foyer of the Monroe F. Swilley Jr. Library from Monday-Friday, Jan. 12-17, to provide facts about sex trafficking and information on how to take action and become a part of the solution to this epidemic.
A panel discussion, titled "Sex Trafficking and the Factors Effecting its Demand," will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 12-1:30 p.m., in the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center (AACC) second-floor atrium. Panelists will represent organizations such as the Interfaith Children Movement (ICM), DeKalb Lawyers Association, Wellspring Living and more.
"Essentials of DMST," a training session led by Andi Worley of Street Grace, will be held on Friday, Jan. 17, 3-5 p.m., in the auditorium of Day Hall. Street Grace is a faith-based organization leading churches, community organizations and individual volunteers on a comprehensive path to end domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in metro Atlanta and throughout the U.S.
The week culminates on Friday evening with the Benefit and Honors Banquet, 6-8 p.m., in the AACC second-floor atrium. The banquet includes a meal and several presentations, including a keynote address from author Dorsey Jones, who will share her personal experiences as a victim of sex trafficking. All proceeds from the banquet will benefit selected organizations working with trafficking survivors.
"This initiative, spearheaded by one of our outstanding counseling Ph.D. students, and aimed at increasing awareness of a problem of global significance, is yet another example of our commitment to incorporating service into each of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies' academic programs," said Dean Priscilla Danheiser.
For more information on Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the College of Continuing and Professional Studies
The College of Continuing and Professional Studies, established in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional students and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program is a transition program for students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students who desire to transition to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation and liberal studies. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Newnan and Eastman. To learn more, visit ccps.mercer.edu.