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URMC / News / Medical Students Host Anti-Human Trafficking Conference Jan. 27

Medical Students Host Anti-Human Trafficking Conference Jan. 27

Thursday, January 18, 2018

An estimated 17,500 people are trafficked into or around the U.S. each year, and the industry’s proc
An estimated 17,500 people are trafficked into or around the U.S. each year, and the industry’s proceeds measure in the billions globally, however it remains a largely hidden crime.

Students from the School of Medicine and Dentistry are hosting a day-long conference  on Saturday Jan. 27, to bring attention to the global epidemic of human trafficking, and educate health care providers and members of the community about the role they can play in identifying and helping victims. The event, taking place in the Class of ’62 auditorium, also aims to promote advocacy and collaboration between URMC health care providers and local and regional agencies working to battle the problem.

Sponsored by several URMC departments, the Office for Inclusion and Cultural Development, UR’s Susan B. Anthony Center, student groups and community donors, the event includes a keynote speech by internationally-known human trafficking researcher Parveen Parmar, MD, MPH, associate professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and chief of the Division of International Medicine at the University of Southern California. Parmar’s research focuses on health and human rights violations in refugee and internally- displaced populations.

Other speakers include representatives from the Center for Youth, the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Anti-Human Trafficking, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (regional chapter), the Angels of Mercy, and the Worker Justice Center.

The issue of human trafficking strikes particularly close to home in Rochester, as our relatively small city has staggering numbers of trafficked individuals due to its high poverty rate.

“The issue of human trafficking strikes particularly close to home in Rochester, as our relatively small city has staggering numbers of trafficked individuals due to its high poverty rate,” says second-year medical student Anna Bowen, one of the event coordinators. “We are hoping our conference raises awareness of an issue that is often forgotten, and engages more health care professionals in anti-human trafficking efforts.”

An estimated 17,500 people are trafficked into or around the U.S. each year, and the industry’s proceeds measure in the billions globally, however it remains a largely hidden crime. Many victims are first exploited as children and teens, and individuals living in poverty or from refugee families are particularly vulnerable. Exploitation often continues for years, as victims fear for their safety and survival if they try to escape their trafficker.

Physicians, nurses, social workers and other providers have a large opportunity to identify victims when they come in contact with the health care system for such incidents as physical abuse injuries, sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, or other issues requiring emergent care. The event will help providers and other members of the community spot the tell-tale signs of trafficking, teach them the steps they can take, and who to contact to connect victims with the help they need.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. and concludes with a 3:15 p.m. networking reception in the Flaum Atrium. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit the conference website.

To arrange media interviews the day of the event, please contact event spokesperson, student Shea Allison Nagle at (315) 868-4572. 

Media Contact

Christine Roth

(585) 275-1309

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