Costa Mesa – The past weekend's annual Ensure Justice conference was host to nearly 300 attendees, representing law enforcement, political officials, policymakers, faith-based groups, businesses, Orange County community members and students from universities across Southern California. Each year the conference is geared to facilitate emerging networks in human trafficking prevention and create connections across disciplines and regions.
The conference theme, “Why is SHE a slave? went beyond theory and anecdotes. The conference was dedicated to Aubreyanna, 17-year-old Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) victim killed here in Orange County on February 4th. Being face to face with this reality compelled students and attendees to take advantage of every moment of access to our guest experts,” says Sandie Morgan, director for the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University.
During the conference, Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief, challenged attendees with the possibility of ending slavery with the integration of faith and practice, while survivor advocate, Shyima Hall, stepped up to the microphone with her own powerful survivor’s story. “I got to see them go to justice,” said Hall, after witnessing criminal court charges against the family who held her as a slave in their upscale suburban home. Rev. David Myers, senior advisor to the administer/director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, spoke on “Faith in Action” which focused on building strategic partnerships in educating the community as well as law enforcement on human trafficking in your own neighborhood.
Workshop speakers for the weekend included Amy Hewat, U.S. anti-trafficking specialist for World Relief, Sherri Harris, NETS-OC program director from The Salvation Army, and Nicole Wood, also from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other top experts in preventing and educating on the subject of human trafficking.
The Global Center for Women and Justice called attendees to study the issues, be a voice and make a difference. “While our conference ended with a call to action to ‘do something’, it was based on carefully researched best practice strategies,” explains Morgan.
The Ensure Justice conference was made possible by the Global Center for Women and Justice board members, the More Priceless Than Diamonds committee, Kéan Coffee, Shine, and Vanguard University.
Save the date for next year’s Ensure Justice conference, being held March 6-7, 2014. The Global Center for Women and Justice will also hold a More Priceless Than Diamonds luncheon at the Balboa Bay Club on September 13, 2014.
To view highlights from the Ensure Justice conference, CLICK HERE, and to learn more about upcoming events, visit gcwj.vanguard.edu