Honors Cabinet to host human trafficking expert panel

Honors Cabinet to host human trafficking expert panel

Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world and is growing faster in Texas than anywhere in the United States, according to Traffick911.

Deena Graves, executive director of Traffick911, and four other experts on human trafficking issues will participate in a discussion as well as a question-and-answer session about local human trafficking from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 6 in Sid Richardson Lecture Hall 2.

The panel discussion will be hosted by the Honors Cabinet, which consists of 13 students in the Honors College. The panel was organized by Hannah Paul, a senior international politics and French double major. 

"I wasn't even aware until this year that local human trafficking was even an issue or that it even happened around here," Paul said. "I think it's very important for TCU students to be aware that it does go on and to recognize the signs and report it if they think they see it happening." 

The panel will discuss the realities of the sex slave trade, Paul said.

Traffick911 focuses on preventing, rescuing and restoring American children being sold into sexual slavery. Graves founded the organization after she realized how prevalent the trafficking of children was from a friend who works for the Dallas police, according to Traffick911.com. 

The average life expectancy of a child is seven years after they have been forced into slavery, so people should talk about human trafficking and spread awareness to help these kids who are dying, Graves said. 

Another panel member, Dr. Sophia Grant of Cook Children's Hospital, has treated many victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, she said.

"There is a nationally recognized group called the Polaris Project that runs the national hotline for human trafficking, and that project was born out of the research project of two students from Brown University," Grant said. "So if you have college kids that can impact the nation by doing a project, I think TCU is a great place to start to get college students energized to do something to change the way things are." 

The panel will start off with a presentation by the panelists that will include information and stories of human trafficking followed by a question-and-answer session where the audience can write down questions on a piece of paper and pass them to panelists to be answered.

Those interested can watch the panel's promotional video called "Are You Listening?"

The panel will include the following experts:

  • Dr. Sophia Grant – Cook Children's Hospital
  • Alan Schonborn – Vice President of ACH Child and Family Services
  • Vanessa Bouché – TCU political science professor
  • Deena Graves – Executive Director of Traffick911
  • Laura DeMoss – Mosaic Services