Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, April 26, 2010

Symposium on modern-day slavery to feature lecture by author

The symposium, "Modern-Day Slavery," features three panels of experts from academia, public policy, non-profits and law enforcement. It will be 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. in 8417 Sewell Social Sciences, 1180 Observatory Drive.

Skinner Ben lowrez

Ben Skinner

The author of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery, Madison native E. Benjamin Skinner, will speak at 4:30 p.m. in Ebling Auditorium in the Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive.

Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of Harvard Kennedy School and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, went undercover when necessary to infiltrate trafficking networks, slave quarries, urban child markets and illegal brothels. His work received the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, as well as a citation from the Overseas Press Club in its book category for 2008.

"We are excited to host Ben to bring awareness to the global issue of modern-day slavery," says Carolyn Heinrich, director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Students hold fund-raiser for anti-slavery group

In tandem with the April 30 symposium on modern-day slavery, students are raising money for Free the Slaves, the nonprofit organization supported by Ben Skinner, the keynote speaker for the symposium. Read more ...

Alumni to speak on modern slavery at La Follette symposium

Two alumni who are experts in human trafficking will present at a La Follette School symposium on modern-day slavery. Read more ...

"Modern-day slavery touches on many public policy issues, including international trade, legal, human rights, social welfare, labor, public health, economic and education," she says. "Yet, due to legal, territorial and institutional barriers — not to mention culturally ingrained practices — it is a very difficult problem to address and resolve."

The lecture and symposium are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

The symposium features three panels of experts from academia, public policy, non-profits and law enforcement. The first panel includes three University of Wisconsin–Madison professors who will provide an overview of the broader issues of modern-day slavery, drawing from their research: Araceli Alonso, of Gender & Women's Studies and the School of Medicine and Public Health; Jane L. Collins, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Community & Environmental Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies; and Heinz Klug, Evjue-Bascom Professor in Law and H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellow. Collins and Klug are La Follette School faculty affiliates.

The second panel includes university, nonprofit organization and public sector individuals who will discuss the scope of the problem of modern-day slavery in Wisconsin. They include Karina B. Silver, of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee; Marianna Smirnova, human trafficking policy specialist at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault;  JoAnn Gruber-Hagen of Slave Free Madison; and professor Margo Kleinfeld, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Geography and Geology Department and member of the Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee. Silver and Smirnova hold Master of International Public Affairs degrees from the La Follette School.

The final panel will bring the perspectives and experiences of law enforcement officials and others working in the field to combat modern-day slavery problems to the discussion. This panel includes: Saejung Lee, immigration attorney for the Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee; Amy Coleman of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; David Lippiatt, executive director of WE International; Brian Payne, an organizer with Interfaith Center for Worker Justice; and Lynda Stott of the Milwaukee Police Department.

In addition to the La Follette School, financial sponsors on campus include African Studies, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies/Brazil Initiative, Global Studies, International Institute, and the Wisconsin Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy. Lending support and assistance are Slave Free Madison and Madison Committee on Foreign Relations, and these campus units: the Center for Southeast Asia, Center for International Business Education and Research, Department of History, Havens Center, Law School, Political Science Department, Department of Population Health Sciences and the Sociology Department.