NYU Center for Global Affairs co-hosts discussion calling New Yorkers “to act locally” against international human trafficking

Marks UN’s International Day for Abolition of Slavery, December 2nd

* Event video available now at www.scps.nyu.edu/human-trafficking *

NEW YORK December 1, 2006 - New York University’s Center for Global Affairs co-sponsored an event last night at NYU to raise awareness about the local dimensions of trafficking humans across international borders and renew efforts to enact local legislation against this global humanitarian crisis. The Center is within the University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Drawing an audience of about 850 in NYU’s Skirball Theater, “Human Trafficking: A Global Challenge in Our Own Backyard,” was also sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Vital Voices Global Partnership. Scheduled to coincide with the UN International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on December 2, the organizers said they hope to create a community of globally-focused, local citizens committed to ending human trafficking and rally New Yorkers to tackle this issue in their own city.

A video of the event, speaker names and biographies, transcript and other background information can be found at www.scps.nyu.edu/human-trafficking.

The event featured a panel conversation, moderated by Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the New York Times, among activists, and government and business leaders: Ruchira Gupta, member of Vital Voices and executive director of Apne Aap Women Worldwide (India); New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Ambassador John Miller, director of the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, CEO and chairperson of the Carlson Companies; and actress Julia Ormond, the UN’s goodwill ambassador for the Abolition of Slavery and Human Trafficking.

Also speaking were NYU President John Sexton; Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime and director-general of the UN Office in Vienna; and Melanne Verveer, co-founder and chairman of the Board of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

Human trafficking affects between 600,000 and 800,000 victims globally each year, mostly women and children, according to the U.S. State Department. Trafficking includes forced prostitution, forced labor, child soldiers, forced marriage, trafficking of people to sell organs, and child sex tourism. Approximately 14,500 - 17,500 people are trafficked to the United States each year, with New York being among the top domestic destinations for this 21st century slave trade. State legislatures in 25 states, have already passed anti-trafficking laws. However, the New York legislature failed to pass an anti-trafficking law in June 2006.

Dean Robert Lapiner of NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies said the event was an important part of the NYU Center for Global Affairs’ mission to raise awareness and educate New Yorkers about local and international issues, and their points of intersection.

“Unfortunately, the issue of slavery is alive today and this sordid trade in human lives has a local dimension,” said Lapiner. “This event we hope drew attention to and increased understanding, and showed how as individuals and a community we can take part in the fight to end human trafficking.”

“Human trafficking is a global scourge,” said Melanne Verveer, chair of the Board, Vital Voices Global Partnership. “Traffickers prey on men, women and children in our own country, as well as overseas. This conversation at NYU will help us focus on strategic ways, for the first time, how we can respond to this challenge here at home, as well as abroad.”

New York University’s Center for Global Affairs is integral to NYU’s public conversations and study about foreign policy, international relations, human rights and related issues. Housed within the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS), at the School’s facility in downtown Manhattan’s landmark Woolworth Building, the Center comprises the M.S. in Global Affairs program, myriad non-degree certificate and courses in international affairs, and a robust events series which presents each semester provocative and timely public forums regarding the latest topics in world affairs.
The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (www.scps.nyu.edu) is among the 14 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private universities in the United States. Founded in 1934, NYU SCPS each year educates some 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students and enrolls over 44,000 in its non-credit programs. A national leader in adult and professionally-oriented education, NYU SCPS programs include nondegree courses that span more than 125 fields, 14 industry-focused Master’s degree programs, and nine Bachelor’s and six Associates degree programs specially designed for working adults.

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