With discussions of problems concerning human trafficking becoming more prevalent in the community because of the proximity of the Interstate 55 corridor, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, will be hosting a human trafficking awareness forum on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 7 p.m at the Morris University Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
“It’s disturbing to realize this is going on here in our area, but traffickers prey on the vulnerable wherever they find them, starting as young as even 10 years old,” said Stuart. “I wanted to give the community an opportunity to learn about human trafficking and how we as members of the community can be alert to potential trafficking situations here in the Metro East, so I reached out to the experts in order to bring them together under one roof.”
The seminar will include several speakers and experts on the local trafficking issue, including Dr. Ann Dimaio from Cardinal Glennon Hospital, Kristen Eng from Hoyleton Youth and Family Services, and Dr. Erin Heil, a criminal justice professor at SIUE. The event is free to the public.
“Trafficking takes many forms, from the sex trafficking industry to employment trafficking and the exploitation of workers,” Stuart continued.
“While it isn’t a pleasant topic, I hope residents will come hear about human trafficking from all angles. Our diverse group of speakers, including a physician who treats victims, will enlighten us on the community-wide impact of trafficking,” she said.