For Immediate Release

Contact:Deborah Gilleran

“Human Trafficking” the Subject of Georgian Court University Program

Human Trafficking Called Modern-Day Slavery

Lakewood, N.J., Mar. 29, 2007—The U.S. State Department estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, 80 percent of whom are women and girls and up to 50 percent who are children. Sadly, many are captured for sex and other kinds of human slavery, and it’s taking place right here in New Jersey. On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 6:30 p.m., Georgian Court University will shed light on this horrific topic and suggest ways people can help. Taking place in the Little Theatre on GCU’s Lakewood campus, the program is free, but reservations are required.

“We’ll kick off with the 2005 film Human Trafficking, written by Carol Doyle and directed by Christian Duguay, and featuring actors Donald Sutherland, Mira Sorvino, and Robert Carlyle. We are showing segments from the film to highlight various aspects of human trafficking,” says Sandra Prucha, RSM, Ed.D, GCU assistant professor of psychology.

After the film, Sister Prucha will facilitate a discussion on the topic. “As Sisters of Mercy, we are committed to works that address the needs of the “poor, sick, and uneducated” and those in any way wounded by contemporary society. Joining other professors here at Georgian Court University, I am committed to having our students be aware of and help prevent such horrible human atrocities such as human trafficking,” Sister Prucha adds.

“Human trafficking” differs from “people smuggling” because in the latter, people voluntarily pay a fee for a smuggler’s help to gain access to a country. A trafficking victim, however, is exploited and enslaved, with the trafficker taking away all basic human rights. Victims are often tricked, lured by false promises, physically forced, or drugged by traffickers.

Often from poorer regions of the world where opportunities are limited, trafficked people are usually from the most vulnerable in society, such as runaways, refugees, or other displaced persons. Women are particularly at risk from kidnappers who exploit their lack of opportunity and then force the victims into prostitution. Children are trafficked for both labor exploitation and sexual exploitation.

The U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons Report,” released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons on June 3, 2005, calls human trafficking “a form of modern-day slavery.”

The report states, “More than 140 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war to rid our country of slavery, and to prevent those who supported it from dividing the nation. Although the vast majority of nations succeeded in eliminating the state-sanctioned practice, a modern form of human slavery has emerged as a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children. Today, slavery is rarely state-sponsored. Instead, human trafficking often involves organized crime groups who make huge sums of money at the expense of trafficking victims.”

As numbing as these numbers sound, the situation is even worse, since the U.S. report does not take into consideration the millions more who are kidnapped and trafficked within their own countries. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency charged with addressing social-protection issues, estimates that 12.3 million people are enslaved in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.

The Georgian Court program will help participants increase their global awareness of this debilitating crime and how it relates to immigration. The program will start with a film on this subject and follow with a discussion led by Sister Prucha.

For more information or to register, contact the Georgian Court University Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2263 or Directions to GCU can be obtained at, and free parking is available on campus.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge and at Coastal Communiversity in Wall and Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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