Weber State to host inaugural Human Trafficking Symposium
OGDEN, Utah - Weber State University will host its inaugural Human Trafficking Symposium Oct. 27 to raise awareness and start an ongoing conversation about how to recognize and combat human trafficking in the United States and in Utah specifically.
“There is a misconception that human trafficking does not happen in Utah,” said Molly Sween, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and co-organizer of the event. “We want this symposium to raise awareness of risk factors for human trafficking and share resources from community members who are focused on prosecuting this crime and assisting victims of human trafficking.”
According to a report released by the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University, the Asian Association of Utah served 251 human trafficking victims in 2019 and 2020. Despite perceptions that human trafficking is only a foreign issue, almost half of the victims served by the AAU were U.S. citizens.
This symposium will cover a range of topics, from the human trafficking of immigrants and international human trafficking to local victim resources and an overview of the issue relating to recognition and prevention. Sween hopes the symposium will help attendees gain a better understanding of the issue at home and abroad.
Julee Smith, co-organizer of the event and chair of the Northern Utah Trafficking Intervention Coalition , said, “When I initially met with (WSU) President Brad Mortensen to discuss the possibility of hosting a Human Trafficking Symposium at WSU, he quickly expressed support for the idea and made it clear that the success of all WSU students is paramount, and student safety is a big part of the student’s ability to ultimately achieve that success.”
This collaborative event is bringing together individuals from the Utah Attorney General’s Office, the University of Utah, Weber County Sheriff's Office, the Utah Prosecution Council, Your Community Connection Family Crisis Center, as well as professionals from the WSU Women’s Center and the Department of Social Work.
The symposium is free and open to the public. Those interested can register on the Human Trafficking Symposium website.
The event is hosted in partnership with WSU’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education, Student Affairs and community partners.