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

Alumni speak on modern slavery at La Follette symposium

Marianna Smirnova, left, and Karina Silver spoke as part of a panel discussion on the extent of slavery in Wisconsin. Both hold Master of International Public Affairs degrees from the La Follette School.


2008 MIPA alum April Nozomi Goodwin, left, helped to staff the committee when she interned with OJA. She also serves on the trafficking committee. her son, Sachi, was born in January 2008.

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

Karina Silver, a member of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee, and Marianna Smirnova, human trafficking policy specialist at Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, spoke at the April 30 event. They are part of a panel of university, nonprofit organization and public-sector experts who will discuss the scope of modern-day slavery in Wisconsin.

Smirnova, a 2008 grad, addressed the situation in Wisconsin and efforts around the state to address human trafficking, inclu­ding the Statewide Human Trafficking Protocol the OJA Human Trafficking Committee is putting together. In addition to coordina­ting that committee for two years, Smirnova is a member of Slave Free Madison. She researches and trains on state and national human trafficking policy issues and legislation.

Silver described a statewide survey on trafficking that the committee conducted 2007. Under a contract with OJA, she wrote the final 2008 report, Hidden in Plain Sight: A Baseline Survey of Human Trafficking in Wisconsin. The 2006 alum worked for OJA as an intern, then as a project assistant, then as a human trafficking specialist before becoming an analyst with the state budget office in 2007. Silver also is a member of Slave Free Madison.

"Human trafficking in all forms exists in Wisconsin in urban and rural areas," Silver says. "The numbers in the report are likely the tip of the iceberg because trafficking is a hidden crime."

A version of this story appeared in the spring 2010 La Follette Notes newsletter for alumni and friends.

 — article last updated June 1, 2010