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Host: Scott LaMar

Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Mar 6, 2017 8:00 PM

 

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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, March 7, 2017:

Human trafficking forces people -- usually young women -- into the commercial sex trade or labor.  It is widespread throughout the world, in the U.S. and in Pennsylvania.

Just last week, a Berks County man was arrested on charges related to trafficking a young woman. 

Police and the justice system have re-evaluated their approach to dealing with victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.  Instead of punishment and prison, many cities are using rehabilitative measures to re-integrate the victims into communities.

Because of the evolving nature of the approach to trafficking and exploitation, there is a lack of continuity in the enforcement, prosecution and rehabilitation of the perpetrators and their victims.

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute of the Villanova Law Institute is sponsoring a symposium Thursday, March 9th to address these disparities and promote ideas to improve the relationships between attorneys, lawmakers, social workers and law enforcement agencies and aid in combating commercial sexual exploitation.

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Shea Rhodes - Director of Villanova's Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute / Dr. Susan Mapp - Professor of Social Work at Elizabethtown College

Shea M. Rhodes is the Director of Villanova's CSE Institute and she will join us on Tuesday's Smart Talk to discuss the scope of human trafficking and forced prostitution and society's approach to aiding those victims.  Dr. Susan Mapp, Professor of Social Work at Elizabethtown College will be in studio to describe the impact these crimes have in Central Pennsylvania.

UPDATE as of Tuesday afternoon -- a news release from the governor's office:

Governor Wolf Announces PennDOT Effort to Help Combat Human Trafficking

3/7/2017-

​Harrisburg, PA - In an effort to help combat human trafficking, Governor Wolf announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is training its front line Driver License Center staff to notice signs of a potential trafficking situation. PennDOT is working with the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association to help arrange this training for their operators as well, and is sharing trafficking awareness information with commercial drivers who visit Driver License Centers.

"I applaud Secretary Richards and PennDOT for their work to combat human trafficking," said Governor Wolf. "Spreading awareness and training PennDOT

employees on how to identify possible human trafficking victims is an important step in fighting this horrific issue."

"Human trafficking has sadly become a worldwide problem and developed into a

$32 billion a year trade," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. "We at PennDOT are doing our part to help spot victims and get them assistance."

The training, developed by PennDOT in partnership with the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and Truckers against Trafficking, defines trafficking and how victims are forced and coerced into it. The training also instructs employees on how to call the appropriate authorities and what information to collect if they see potential trafficking.

As of Jan. 13, every transit agency director across Pennsylvania has been trained, and PennDOT expects its Driver License Center and transit agency staff to be trained by summer 2017.

Additionally, PennDOT is now distributing wallet cards to CDL holders and applicants at its Driver License Centers, which contain information regarding how to report a tip to law enforcement when suspecting human trafficking activities.

Pennsylvania enacted Act 105 in 2014 to define human trafficking and give law enforcement tools needed to go after traffickers.

EMAILS

- How would legalizing prostitution effect this problem?   I'm thinking it should help in spite of wishing there were not such a market in human culture anywhere.            - Ann, Juniata County

Please let your readers be aware of a safe house called The Harbor that will be opening soon by North Start Initiative in Lancaster County for trafficking victims. It is a non profit and needs donations for the house to open.                                                                                    - Cathy

 

 

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