Grace Farms Foundation (GFF) convened a major symposium, Partnerships to Combat Modern Slavery, that brought together 150 law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and survivors of human trafficking. The goal of the symposium was to train law enforcement personnel to identify the signs of human trafficking and child exploitation and work together to combat it. The day-long symposium was held on March 4 at Grace Farms and was attended by representatives of the United States Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, the Department of Homeland Security (HSI), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Connecticut State Police, and GFF.
“This week’s symposium is a tremendous example of GFF’s collaborative and interdisciplinary model to combat human trafficking,” said Chief Accountability Officer & Justice Initiative Director Rod Khattabi. “Our partnership approach ensures that government entities, law enforcement officials, and survivors of human trafficking and child exploitation will have their perspectives represented and their voices heard. This is critical to raising awareness of these crimes and working together to eradicate these injustices.”
“This symposium highlights valuable information we each bring to the table to aid in the fight against human trafficking,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina of HSI Boston. “HSI is proud to participate and share our global experience and wide-ranging resources with our law enforcement and NGO partners.”
“In 1994, The U.S. Secret Service was mandated by Congress to lend its forensic resources to law enforcement agencies in support of cases involving missing and exploited children,” stated the U.S. Secret Service. “We are excited to participate in this symposium to illustrate our capabilities. Our unwavering commitment to reduce child exploitation comes from a relentless compassion to educate and protect our nation’s children.”
“Collaboration is particularly important in identifying human trafficking enterprises, and I sincerely thank Grace Farms for coordinating and hosting this important conference,” said U.S. Attorney John H. Durham. “Fortunately, Connecticut law enforcement agencies have a long history of working together to address threats to the public’s safety and well-being. Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our municipal, state, and federal counterparts, and numerous non-governmental organizations, to identify, investigate, and prosecute aggressively those who prey on the vulnerable victims of human trafficking.”
“It’s essential to include survivors with life experience for the work of anti-trafficking globally,” said Shandra Woworuntu, Founder and CEO of Mentari, survivor advisor to the ODIHR-OSCE, who was also a keynote speaker at the symposium. “Survivors give significant input and recommendations to establish trust between law enforcement and survivors, to build trauma-informed frameworks that are critical to the process of identifying those involved in human trafficking, and to help develop best practices to help survivors fulfill their needs.”
Partnerships to Combat Modern Slavery focused on all aspects of combating modern slavery, from the investigative phase through prosecution of crimes and supporting survivors of these crimes. In the past three years, GFF has held more than 30 national and international trainings and symposiums with more than 2,000 officials in attendance.